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Tuesday 15 June 2010

It’s ‘Goody Bags’ Galore For Our Frontline Troops In Afghanistan

HUNDREDS of ‘goody bags’ are on their way to our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan – thanks to workers at Cheshire East Council.

Council staff and their families rallied round to fill more than 250 Jiffy bags with tasty treats and little luxuries they donated to boost soldiers of 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) battling the Taliban in Helmand.

Cheshire East Mayor Councillor Gordon Baxendale also added a further 60 goody bags thanks to the generous support of listeners following his local (Signal Radio) radio appeal – taking the total to more than 300.

Now council staff are challenging East Cheshire businesses, community organisations and local people to do their bit and match the council’s efforts.

Mayor Baxendale said: “This has been a tremendous effort by Cheshire East workers. They really got into the spirit of things and have pulled out all the stops.”

He particularly praised those responsible for organising and helping the Jiffy bag scheme to send troops packages full of treats from home.

Mayor Baxendale added: “The drive to show community suport for ‘The Cheshires’ started in Congleton and, with the help of the Cheshire East Council communications team, we have actively worked across the whole area to show our full support for the outstanding work being done by our brave men and women.

“The Jiffy bag campaign goes a little way to give practical aid and raise the morale of the frontline troops.

“It is really important that we let them know they have the backing of the public back home. The Jiffy bag scheme is a fantastic way to show support and bring the frontline troops some much-appreciated creature comforts.”

The goody bags contained treats such as small tins of fruit, boiled sweets, sachets of drinking chocolate, toiletries and even England World Cup flags and stickers.

The Jiffy bags are collected at Congleton Pentecostal Church, in Cross Street, Congleton, to be sent on to Marne Barracks, Catterick – the home base of 1 Mercian. From there they are taken to frontline troops by soldiers returning to Afghanistan from Britain.

The facility to get a parcel to a soldier as quickly as possible is crucial and returning soldiers are keen to courier Jiffy bags to the frontline in their backpacks.

Captain John Elms, welfare officer for 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said: “This has been a cracking effort by Cheshire East.

It really means a lot for our troops to know they have got the support of the people of East Cheshire behind them – they really appreciate it.

“Receiving one of these Jiffy bags after a hard day’s slog on patrol in Helmand gives our soldiers a real lift – as does knowing that they are not forgotten.”

The Cheshire’s main role in Helmand is to mentor local security forces and provide security on the ground as part of the development of creating normal, everyday life in Afghanistan.

Cllr Baxendale has named ABF The Soldiers’ Charity as one of the organisations he is fundraising for during his tenure as mayor.

To get involved with the Jiffy bag campaign, or to make a donation, contact Congleton collection organiser Jill Dolman on 07827 415686.

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