Soldier needs shirts to help children

A SOLDIER from Ipswich is hoping to lighten up the lives of children in Afghanistan by taking a selection of British football shirts over to the country.

A SOLDIER from Ipswich is hoping to lighten up the lives of children in Afghanistan by taking a selection of British football shirts over to the country.

Lance Corporal Robert Buxton is a member of the Colchester-based 13 Air Assault and will be flying out to the war-torn country at the end of this month.

He said: “We just really want to do something to help improve our relationship with the people out there and sport is one thing that they can all relate to.

“We are hoping to get a grant to buy some footballs for them, but what we really need is for people to donate any old football shirts they no longer want.

“From talking to people who are already over there we've heard that the children really like English football and they although they can't really speak any English they all know the words 'Manchester United'. It would be nice to introduce them to some other teams!”

Mr Buxton, 26, an Ipswich Town fan, will be in Afghanistan for six months.

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He has joined forces with his local pub The Smock, in Maidenhall Approach, to help collect as many shirts as possible.

He said: “Anyone can pop in there with spare shirts and they will collect them all up for us. It would be nice if we could take a good amount.”

Mr Buxton, who lives with his girlfriend Nicola in Maidenhall Approach, says he is not nervous about going to Afghanistan but it will be hard to leave his family for six months as he has just become a dad for the second time - baby Travis was born last Friday .

They have one other son, Tyler, who is 16 months old.

Mr Buxton said: “I don't really get nervous about going away now as I have been all over the place. I've spent time in Iraq and Bosnia, but it is obviously hard to leave you family behind.”

If you would like to donate a shirt you can drop it in to Tony Hutchins at The Smock pub or contact Mr Buxton on 01473 687389.

A fundraising event will be taking place at The Smock on Sunday from midday to raise money to buy footballs for the children.

Are you collecting anything unusual for charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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