Soldiers still in the front line

WHEN the Royal Anglians and then the Colchester-based Paras left Afghanistan after arduous and extremely dangerous tours of duty, there was a temptation to imagine that this region's involvement in the warzone was over.

WHEN the Royal Anglians and then the Colchester-based Paras left Afghanistan after arduous and extremely dangerous tours of duty, there was a temptation to imagine that this region's involvement in the warzone was over.

But in fact troops from Wattisham airfield are still out in that war-blighted country - and this region is likely to retain a presence there for as long as the conflict continues.

All the British army Apache helicopters are based at Wattisham and the Apache is uniquely suited to operating in the Afghan warzone.

So there will be Suffolk-based troops serving there over Christmas, and troops from Wattisham are likely to be rotated in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.


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And there is nothing these troops will welcome over the festive season more than messages from home. Any Blueys sent by Star readers will really boost the morale of troops as they miss their loved ones at Christmas.

The troops in Afghanistan are doing a very important job in trying to free that country from grip of the Taliban and its desire to return to a Medieval-style form of government.

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Western troops, and especially British soldiers operating in dangerous province of Helmand, are doing a great job in trying to defeat this tyranny.

As they do that work, it is vital that they know they have the support of the people back home - so send them your messages to lift the spirits over Christmas.

AS the holidays approach, everyone's thoughts will swing towards getting together with their loved ones - but this is also a time when there is plenty of potential for tragedy on the roads.

On dark cold nights there are many hazards - and drivers and cyclists must ensure they don't add to those hazards.

The battle against drink-driving continues, and The Evening Star's name and shame campaign highlights this danger . . . and is helping to really clampdown on this menace.

Meanwhile cyclists need to ensure they don't add to the grim accident statistics by taking the right safety measures.

People still ride bikes at night with no lights and wearing dark clothing - which is a real danger to themselves and other road users.

Road accidents are terrible at any time of the year, but there is an added poignancy to those over the Christmas period. Don't put yourself or other road users in danger by ignoring basic safety measures.

MANY people are happy to retire at 65 or even earlier - it gives them the chance to take on new challenges in their golden years.

But an increasing number of people are even happier to carry on working, to continue to do productive jobs well beyond the official retirement age.

People like Michael Chisnall are a real inspiration as he continues to work behind the checkout at Sainsburys.

As the population grows older - and more people live healthier lives in retirement - more will want to carry on working and feel they continue to contribute to society.

After all they have a great example to follow - The Queen shows little sign of slowing down although she is now 82.

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