TROOPS risking their lives in Afghanistan have thanked Wearsiders for helping to spread a little Christmas cheer on the front line.
Beauley Lodge Care Home, in Fence Houses, was inundated with donations of sweets, toiletries and books after it started its drive to help service personnel spending the festive season fighting the Taliban.
Earlier this month, hundreds of boxes filled with goodies were flown out to the war zone in time for the big day.
Today, soldiers from the 1 Logistic Support Regiment (1LSR) paid tribute to the volunteers’ hard work and dedication.
“I want to thank everyone, wholeheartedly, for their kind support to the 1LSR Christmas Box Project,” said Captain Gavin Dickerson. “I cannot stress enough how much it has meant to us.”
Capt Dickerson said the boxes, which are filled with items including chewing gum, crisps and roll-on deodorant, help boost the morale of soldiers serving in danger zones such as Helmand Province.
“Without your support this project was a non-starter,” said Capt Dickerson. “I want to pass on my kindest gratitude and thanks. This brought a smile to every soldier and officer within the 1LSR on Christmas Day. You cannot overestimate what effect this had on our guys and girls.”
Care home manager Irene Simm, who helped organise the collection, also thanked those who supported the collection.
“We collected more than 400 boxes in total,” said the 60-year-old. “We want to thank everyone who helped at the care home as well as Four Seasons Health Care Homes, Woodlea School, the Alzheimer’s Day Centre and Lumley Hairdwressers.
“We were also helped by the Brockwell Centre, which filled 50 shoeboxes, and Lumley GP Practice and Lumley Pharmacy.”
Irene’s 39-year-old son Jonathan, who recently served in Afghanistan as a master chef, said the presents made a “massive difference”.
“I would like to personally to thank all of the care home staff for the hard work and dedication that they all put in,” said the dad-of-one, who is based in Germany. “I’d also like to thank all the other businesses, schools and individuals who helped.
“Believe me when I say that we could not have achieved anywhere near the 400-plus boxes that we did without the support from Beauley Lodge.”