A CARE home is to send morale boosting ‘gifts from home’ to frontline troops in Afghanistan.
The campaign has been inspired by Private Neil Carrington who has just become engaged to Sarah Chapman, daughter of Ann, the manager of Pendine Park’s Cae Bryn care home near Wrexham.
Staff and residents of the home are sending goodie boxes with special treats to the squaddies in Helmand Province.
Just before he returned for the second half of his tour of duty in Afghanistan, Neil and his new fiancée Sarah popped in to Pendine Park to thank residents.
During the visit, Neil met one of their most remarkable residents, 93-year-old Margaret Ellis, who served as a nurse amid the carnage of Northern France during the early part of the Second World War 70 years ago.
She was nicknamed Sister Spitfire by German Prisoners of War because of her forthright attitude and indomitable spirit.
Ann Chapman came up with the idea after hearing that many of Neil’s colleagues on the frontline were not receiving any gifts from home.
Ann said: “Sarah was sending boxes to Neil every day with little goodies, crisps, shower gel, toothpaste, packs of cards, travel games – just anything that she thought he might like.
“But there are so many of these soldiers out there on the front line and they don’t get anything and according to Neil they look devastated.
“As soon as I heard that I thought we can do something at Pendine Park to help these lads.
“If anybody else wants to send boxes there are collection points at the Wheatsheaf pub in Gwersyllt and Mecca Bingo in Wrexham have agreed to support us too. We’re getting the boxes from Medina Shoes.
“Neil is going to distribute the boxes to the ones that don’t get them.”
A builder by trade, Neil, 40, is a private in the Territorial Army, theŠ3rd battalion of the Royal Welsh based in Wrexham and was due to return to Afghanistan the following day.
Neil was delighted to have the opportunity to meet Sister Spitfire and the rest of the supporters at Pendine Park before he left.
He said: “What the people at Pendine Park are doing is lovely. The boxes are a big morale boost, because you’re obviously living off rations every day.”
Mrs Ellis said: “Neil is a fine young man and I wish him and his colleagues all the best in Afghanistan. I hope the boxes we are sending will help make their time there just a little bit easier.”
Sarah, 24, added: “Sending the boxes gives me a purpose and keeps me going knowing I’m making him happy.”