Charges scrapped for parcels to troops

A SUFFOLK mother is celebrating after Royal Mail announced friends and families of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would be able to send them parcels for free.

A SUFFOLK mother is celebrating after Royal Mail announced friends and families of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would be able to send them parcels for free.

Teresa Theobald , who launched a campaign to cut postage costs on parcels to serving soldiers in the war-torn countries, has welcomed the move.

Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton said the company was working “urgently” to put in place arrangements for free parcel post deliveries to the troops until Christmas.

Mrs Theobald, who has a 19-year-old son serving in Afghanistan with the Royal Anglian Regiment, described it as “fantastic news” - but pledged to continue her e-petition.

She said: “It is brilliant. It is a limited thing at the moment and is to be reviewed at Christmas. I think it's going to start quite soon.

“It will make a fantastic difference to the families in terms of the financial implications. I have spent £400 in the time my son's been out there on postage alone, not the contents.

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“This means when the soldiers say 'can you send me so-and-so' the families aren't going to be worried about being strapped for cash.

“My son's been out there for six months and will be back in a month's time so this is not going to benefit him a great deal but I did this for all the troops.

“I'm not going to stop campaigning either as it's only for a limited time at the moment.”

But Mr Leighton said Royal Mail would be “pleased” to review with the Ministry of Defence how the arrangements could be continued after Christmas.

He said: “Royal Mail wants to see our frontline troops get as much support as possible.

“Royal Mail's postmen are already serving in many military bases, including in Afghanistan, helping provide postal services to the armed forces and we know how vitally important it is for frontline troops to get parcels from their loved ones at home.”

Mrs Theobald, of Leopold Road, Ipswich, started her campaign last month on Downing Street's e-petition website. It quickly gathered pace, with hundreds of signatures as well as responses from Prince Charles and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Mrs Theobald sends her son two parcels a week, costing her about £14. With only basic rations at her son's forward base and harsh conditions, dehydration and sickness common, Mrs Theobald said sending food parcels was vital in ensuring energy and morale levels are maintained.

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