Send a gift to troops overseas

Parcels for the troops - Laura English with a collection of items she will be sending out to the troops'Photo: SM301111-137js
Parcels for the troops - Laura English with a collection of items she will be sending out to the troops'Photo: SM301111-137js
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THE fiancée of an RAF mechanic is appealing for presents to send out to troops in Afghanistan.

Laura English, 28, of Banks Crescent, Stamford, is collecting small gifts like chocolate, magazines and toiletries to send out to troops from local bases.

Her fiancé Richard Johnson is in the Mechanical Transport Maintenance Section at RAF Wittering and will be going to Afghanistan in February.

Laura is linking up with the Royal British Legion, of which she is a member, to collect gifts for personnel from RAF Wittering and St George’s Barracks in North Luffenham.

Richard has served in Afghanistan before and the couple know first hand just how much of a morale booster parcels of gifts can be.

Laura said: “When communications are shut down and troops can’t speak to anyone at home, getting a parcel makes a big difference. A lot of people don’t get anything sent out at all if the haven’t got close family or friends.

“It’s a morale boost, especially if they know people other than their families are thinking of them, appreciate what they are doing and they have not been forgotten.”

Laura, who has two sons, Matthew, 11, and Freddie, 18 months, will be storing items in her garage to send out four times a year. The items will be packed in shoeboxes and sent out. None will be dispatched until mid-January to ensure that they do not disrupt deliveries of Christmas parcels from the families of troops.

Donations can be dropped off at the Mercury offices in Sheep Market, Stamford, South Street, Oakham, and at the Mercury’s sister paper, The Local in Bourne.

Steve Bonde, former secretary of the Legion’s Stamford branch, is helping Laura with the appeal.

“The same war is still going on and the number of people going out there is still the same, especially from this area,” he said.

“We have been sending parcels for five years. They are extremely well received and we have lots of letters thanking us for what we do.

“They say it is not what we send out, it is the fact that we do it at all and that we remember that these guys are out there.”

Here is a list of suggested items to donate:

Chocolate, mint chewing gum, biscuits, Pringles, small packets of sweets, tea bags, Cup-a-soups, Tabasco sauce, cereal bars, soap, disposable razors, shaving gel (in plastic containers, not in a pressurised device), wet wipes, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet roll, small boxes of washing powder, shampoo/shower gel, comb, roll-on deodorant, women’s sanitary items, magazines (not top shelf, FHM, Maxim or Loaded), writing paper, pens, boxer shorts, socks, travel games, disposable camera, crosswords from newspapers, puzzle books, dog treats and squeaky toys.

No perishable items, sharp objects, alcohol, aerosols, fragile items, fizzy drinks, pot noodles or Christmas crackers should be included.

Please do not donate books as the Legion has enough to send already.