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Thursday 29 July 2010

Goody Bags Boost For Our Soldiers – ‘in a Jiffy’


Private Adam Horton of the Mercian Regiment with Mayor Gordon Baxendale and  Private Thomas Quayle


HUNDREDS more ‘goody bags’ are on their way to boost our troops battling the Taliban – thanks to staff at Cheshire East Council.

Council workers, their families and members of the public filled more than 250 Jiffy bags with gifts of little luxuries, games and tasty treats to raise the morale of soldiers of 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) fighting in Helmand, Afghanistan.

Cheshire East Mayor Councillor Gordon Baxendale also added another 224 goody bags – thanks to the generous support of listeners, following his appeal for donations on Signal Radio – taking the total to more than 450.

Colleagues at Cheshire West and Chester Council have also got behind the Cheshire East-organised collection and are raising scores more parcels of treats.

Last month a similar ‘Jiffy bag’ appeal by Cheshire East alone donated more than 300 goody bags for ‘The Cheshires’.

Mayor Baxendale said: “This was another marvellous effort by Cheshire East staff and local people. They showed their continued support for our soldiers and raised awareness of their sacrifice by donating even more than last time. It was a really tremendous effort.

“The Jiffy bag campaign is a small token of our appreciation and respect for our frontline soldiers and helps raise their morale and give them a bit of a lift.

“It is really important that we let them know they have the backing of the public back home in Cheshire.”

The goody bags contained treats such as small tins of fruit, boiled sweets, sachets of drinking chocolate, toiletries, magazines, playing cards and messages of support.

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 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire). 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 another big and generous effort by Cheshire East.

“It really means a lot for our troops to know they’ve got the support of the people of East Cheshire – they really appreciate it.

“Receiving one of these Jiffy bags after a really hard day on patrol gives our soldiers a huge lift.”

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.

Cllr Baxendale is also calling on people to support a ‘hoedown and hog roast’ to raise funds for the welfare of injured troops of the 1 Mercian. The event will be held in a marquee at The Waggon and Horses pub on Manchester Road (A34), in Eaton, Congleton, on Saturday, August 21, at 7.30pm.

For tickets to the hoedown (priced £10), or to get involved with the Jiffy bag campaign or to make a donation, contact organiser Jill Dolman on 07827 415686.

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