WORTHING Territorial Army Centre has praised the town’s community after around 500 Christmas welfare boxes are set to reach troops in Afghanistan.
Working in collaboration with Worthing Lions Club, schools, supermarkets and businesses have come together to donate non-perishable items to send to soldiers who are currently serving abroad.
Soldiers at the TA Centre in Little High Street are now packing the boxes ready to be sent, which contain a range of items from sweets and crisps to shower gel and wet wipes.
Two hundred boxes, which also contain letters and hand-made Christmas cards from school pupils, have already been sent out to Afghanistan, and there are enough items left for another 300 boxes.
Dale Holley, the Regiment Quartermaster Sergeant with the Third Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (3PWRR), said the boxes will be a huge boost for morale for troops out in Afghanistan.
“Morale can be low, especially at this time of year,” he said.
“The troops on the front line will be living in very austere conditions and while rations are enough, the soldiers do not have the chance to have the little luxuries you can get at home.”
Dale, 44, said the TA could not be more grateful for the generosity of Worthing residents.
He said: “It is fantastic how many items have come in, it is a huge increase on last year. We cannot thank everyone enough, especially when money is tight.”
Company Quartermaster Sergeant Andy Hainge was serving in Afghanistan last Christmas. He said he knows how much troops appreciate support back at home.
“Sometimes, when you are out there, you don’t hear about the support people are giving you from home,” he said.
“The letters and cards really reassure the soldiers that they are there for the right reasons, and that people at home are behind them all the way.
“It gives you that little bit of a boost when you need it most.”
Worthing Lions Club member Tony Holley said this year has seen the biggest turn-out from the Worthing community.
“Three years ago, 90 per cent of the donations were from businesses,” he said. “But this year we have had overwhelming support from schools and the community. This is a fantastic community effort and we really cannot thank the people of Worthing enough.”
Worthing Lions Club is still taking both money donations and items for the boxes to be sent.
To donate, visit www.123pwwr.co.uk or visit the Worthing Lions charity shop in George V Avenue.