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Tuesday 11 May 2010

Wear your band with pride – and show support for 'The Cheshires' in Afghanistan

Cheshire East’s new Mayor is calling on people to show support for their local regiment while it’s in action in war-torn Afghanistan.

Councillor Gordon Baxendale wants people to buy colourful Cheshire regiment wristbands – and wear them with pride.

The bands cost £2 and all funds go directly toward the welfare of the soldiers and their families.

The 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) has just deployed to Task Force Headquarters in Helmand Province for a six-month tour of duty.

And it is not just the servicemen and women in the front line of the fight against the Taliban who need your support.

The regiment's welfare committee launched the wristband campaign to raise funds to support both the troops and their families.

The bands are in the regimental colours of green and maroon with the message “I support 1 Mercian (Cheshire) Regiment in Afghanistan”.

Initial supplies of the wristbands quickly ran out. But now there are more on sale – and they are now available at Cheshire East Council’s leisure centres and libraries.

Cheshire East Mayor Elect Gordon Baxendale said: “These local servicemen and women are showing tremendous bravery, selflessness and commitment to serving their country.

“So, regardless of your politics, it’s crucial that we show them they have the support of the public back home in Cheshire.

“I am delighted and proud to be able to support the remarkable work of the regiment’s welfare team.”

Councillor Baxendale has named ABF The Soldiers’ Charity as one of the organisations he will fundraise for during his tenure as mayor.

Steven Ellwood, from Congleton, whose son Mark is Officer Commanding A Company 1 Mercian (Cheshire), is spearheading the regiment welfare committee’s campaign in Cheshire East.

Mr Ellwood, said: “These are local servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan and we need to support them to help keep their morale high.

“Morale is extremely important and it really gives the troops a lift to know they have the support of Cheshire East Council and the people of Cheshire.

“The soldiers are going through anxious times and they want to know everyone is 100 per cent behind them.

“The troops are well prepared, but the wives, husbands, partners, girlfriends and children are never fully prepared.

“The soldiers work hard, they play hard, and they care a lot about what we think of them. And when things go horribly wrong, as they sometimes do, they’d never ask for your help.

“But we do. When they’ve put everything on the line it’s our job to ask for something from those of us that they serve to defend.”

Cllr Baxendale will be installed as Mayor of Cheshire East on Wednesday, May 12.

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