Soldiers grateful for goodie boxes

A PAIR of Ipswich florists today pledged to continue sending boxes of goodies to soldiers in Afghanistan despite new controls on posting gifts this Christmas.

A PAIR of Ipswich florists today pledged to continue sending boxes of goodies to soldiers in Afghanistan despite new controls on posting gifts this Christmas.

The Ministry of Defence has limited the free postal system to the friends and families of soldiers, with mail only being accepted if sent to a named person.

But Sally Brame and Jayne Smith have a list of enough names to double the 2,259 boxes already sent to troops.

The two friends, from Cottage Garden Florists in Bramford Lane, were personally thanked for their efforts when they answered an invitation to RAF Mervill in Colchester.

There they were met by hundreds of members of 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment on their return home in October.

In little more than a year the florists have sent more than 2,000 boxes in an attempt to boost morale on the front lines. Since 2 Para came home, they've been sending hundreds of parcels each week to 45, 29, 59 and 42 Commando, as well as the Gurkhas.

Most Read

Mrs Brame said: “We're going as strong as ever but the MOD's decision has made things a little difficult.

“Several people have phoned up to ask if we are still doing it. Luckily 2 Para forwarded us the names of the soldiers who have taken over out there and we want to let everyone know we're still sending them out.

“Those soldiers can be out there in the desert for up to seven months with one kit bag. They can't just pop down to the shops when the need something.”

Mrs Smith said: “When we went to Colchester we were told by privates and commanders that it's vital we get boxes out.

“One of the mothers who had lost a son said that what we are doing is appreciated.”

What do you think of the goodie box campaign? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The Cottage Garden florists are always looking for items to include in their goodie boxes. If you would like to make a donation, these are the essentials they lack:

Tissues, baby wipes, shampoo, shower gel, roll on deodorant, razors, toothpaste and brushes, paracetamol.

Hot drinks sachets with milk in them, tea bags, hot chocolate, coffee, small bottles of soft drinks.

Baked beans, tinned tuna, tinned fruit, instant noodles, stock cubes, mini cheeses, crisps, jelly blocks.

Sweets, chewing gum, mints, cereal bars.

Also in demand as the climate cools are hot water bottles, thermal socks and vests.

To make a donation you can visit the shop in Bramford Lane or call Sally or Jayne on 01473 745 250.

Some personal messages of thanks sent back to Cottage Garden Florists:

“Thank you so much for yet another parcel. I can't say how greatly appreciative we are of the boxes. We genuinely appreciate the gesture.”

“I want to say thank you so much for the parcel received today. It's nice to know we're thought of.”

“Thanks for a wonderful gesture. The boxes keep our moral high and it's good for the lads to see that people actually do think about them.”