Couple honoured for helping troops

A FELIXSTOWE couple who have sent 2,000 shoeboxes of necessities and life's little luxuries to soldiers in Afghanistan have been given the Royal seal of approval.

A FELIXSTOWE couple who have sent 2,000 shoeboxes of necessities and life's little luxuries to soldiers in Afghanistan have been given the Royal seal of approval.

Ron and Liz Cartwright were invited to be guests at a Buckingham Palace summer garden party - a reward for their amazing efforts in helping the troops serving so far from home.

Tributes were also paid to them today by a military leader whose soldiers received the boxes.

Mrs Cartwright said the party at the palace was “a marvellous day - absolutely brilliant,” and they had great views of the Queen and royal party.

“We had a great time and we met so many interesting people,” she said.

“Lots of people have sent us thank yous - more letters drop through the door every day - and said kind things about the shoebox appeal, but the best are when the soldiers send us messages back and we know they have received a box safely.

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“It's great to know that they really appreciate what we are doing.

“For some, it's the only post they get and we always make sure we send each box to a named soldier to make it individual and special so they know someone is thinking about them and that the people here appreciate what they are doing.”

The couple, of High Road West, began the campaign to send shoeboxes last autumn after their son Matt, 33, a guardsman with the Coldstream Guards, was sent out to Afghanistan and found the soldiers urgently in need of a number of items.

“People are still bringing us boxes every day - individuals and groups and clubs - and our production line carries on,” said Mr Cartwright.

“The people who have supported us deserve a very large pat on the back.”

Warrant Officer Tim Staples, of II Sqn RAF Regiment, said his unit wanted to pass on its heartfelt thanks to the Cartwrights and also the generous people of Suffolk.

“The men and women are most appreciative of the thought and consideration that has gone into the contents, but most of all the outstanding support in writing that has been shown by members of the British public at this time,” he said.

What do you think of the couple's efforts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: How you can help

Shoeboxes can contain a variety of items, including

sewing kits

rehydration salts for diarrhoea and sickness

paperback books

wet wipes because of lack of running water and no toilets

paracetomol and painkillers

toothbrushes and toothpaste

notebooks, pens and pencils,

chocolates and sweets

cup a soups / noodles / drink sachets / energy tablets and cold treatments.

People who want to donate shoeboxes can contact Ron and Liz Cartwright on 01394 211438 - collection can be arranged.