Massive response to shoebox appeal
RON and Liz Cartwright hoped their appeal for shoebox gifts for soldiers in one of the world's terror troublespots might mean a few dozen sent out.But the staggering response to their appeal has seen more than 650 mailed from Suffolk so far - and the work is far from over.
RON and Liz Cartwright hoped their appeal for shoebox gifts for soldiers in one of the world's terror troublespots might mean a few dozen sent out.
But the staggering response to their appeal has seen more than 650 mailed from Suffolk so far - and the work is far from over.
The boxes are full of life's necessities and a few little luxuries and the troops serving in Afghanistan have been thrilled to receive them.
Mr and Mrs Cartwright have turned their Felixstowe home into a shoebox factory - and have a constant stream of boxes in various stages of preparation.
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Mr Cartwright said: “When we started in October we hoped we might be able to send 50 boxes out to the soldiers, but the response we have had has been overwhelming and to think we have now sent off 650 is just amazing.
“We aim to carry on until at least April and then take stock.
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“Our aim is to make sure every soldier and every officer gets at least one shoebox.
“We are spending 12 hours a day driving around collecting boxes, sorting them, repacking, wrapping and labelling them.”
The list of basic items for the boxes has now been added to with gloves, thermal underwear, warm socks, hot water bottles and fleecy items high on soldiers' priorities with snow falling in parts of Afghanistan and temperatures down to -4C.
The couple, whose son Matt, 33, is serving in Afghanistan with the Coldstream Guards, sent a special Christmas thank you to everyone who had contributed boxes and gifts to the appeal.
Mr Cartwright of High Road West said: “We cannot say a big enough thank you to everyone who has helped - the phone never stops ringing with people with boxes to collect. It's been brilliant.”
They have also been helped with donations of goods and money for fuel from the Green Jackets Association, the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, and Lighthouse Innovation.
He added: “We know the boxes are getting through because we have had blueys from some of the soldiers thanking us for them - they have all been thrilled,” he added.
People who would like to contribute shoeboxes or help with the appeal should contact Mr and Mrs Cartwright on 01394 211438 or firstname.lastname@example.org and collection can be arranged.
If you want to send your messages of support to our troops, visit www.eveningstar.co.uk/blueys
FASTFACTS: What the shoeboxes could contain
rehydration salts for diarrhoea and sickness
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 / cold treatments