FROM sweets to Santa hats, a care home has launched a collection in aid of troops risking their lives in Afghanistan.
Beauley Lodge Care Home, in Fence Houses, has already been inundated with donations of sweets, toiletries and books after it started its drive to help service personnel spending Christmas fighting the Taliban.
Care home manager Irene Simm, who helped organise the collection, said she plans to help ship out dozens of shoeboxes filled with goodies later this month.
“They make a massive difference to the troops,” said the 60-year-old. “They are only little items and, although they might not seem like much to us, they mean a lot to those on the front line.
“Last time we did something like this we had an amazing response. We’re hoping to do the same this time round.”
It is hoped the boxes, which are filled with items including chewing gum, crisps and roll-on deodorant, will boost the morale of soldiers serving in war zones such as Helmand Province.
Other wanted gifts include cakes, small torches, magazines, DVDs, mini-Christmas trees and Santa hats.
“We’re also hoping people will include a Christmas card or message of support with their donations,” said mum-of-four Irene, from Houghton. “It will mean so much to those serving in Afghanistan.”
Irene’s 39-year-old son Jonathan, who recently served in Afghanistan as a master chef, said the parcels will be sent to the 1 Logistic Support Regiment, which is deployed on Operation Herrick 15.
“The support we soldiers get from the public has an amazing impact on the troops’ morale whilst serving on operations, especially over the festive season,” said the dad-of-one, who is based in Germany.
“Having completed two tours of Afghanistan myself, I can safely say I have experienced the excitement on receiving a parcel and how much it lifts your spirits.
“We aim to make it extra special this year by ensuring all the goods are collected and redistributed so that everyone gets the same as their mate serving alongside them.
“We are also going to get their wives, husbands and partners involved by helping us pack them over here in Germany.”
The closing date for the care home’s collection is October 23.
Donations can be left at Beauley Lodge Care Home, Lumley New Road, Fence Houses.
Alternatively, call 385 7182 to arrange a pick-up.