KIND-hearted care home staff are spearheading a collection to help troops serving on the front line in Afghanistan.
Employees at Beauley Lodge Care Home, in Fence Houses, are appealing for donations of gifts such as sweets, toiletries and books as part of 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 next month.
“We’re hoping for a good response from the public,” she said.
“We know there is a lot of support out there for our Armed Forces.
“A local youth club has already collected 50 boxes, so we’ve made a good start.”
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.
“They might not seem much to us, but they make a massive difference to the troops,” said Irene.
“They really help to keep their spirits up.
“It must be awful spending Christmas away from their homes and families, but we hope to help them in any way we can.”
A similar collection last year ended in 450 parcels being sent to members of the Armed Forces serving overseas.
“We always get a great deal of support from the local community,” said Irene.
“We’re hoping we’re going to beat last year’s total.
“We know it’s going to be tough and a lot of hard work, but we’re determined to do it.”
Items can be dropped off at the Beauley Lodge Care Home, in Lumley New Road, Woodstone Village, Fence Houses, near Houghton.
Alternatively, call 385 7182 to arrange for collections to be picked up.
A provisional deadline of November 5 has been set for donations.