Last packages sent to troops by village

Tristan Bell, Jay and Kajal Odedra and Val Worrall
Tristan Bell, Jay and Kajal Odedra and Val Worrall

Braunston residents have sent their final package loaded with goodies to soldiers serving in Afghanistan at Camp Bastion.

Since April 2007 the villagers have sent 1,404 parcels packed with home comforts to the serving men and women of the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group and sailors aboard the HMS Montrose.

Items for collection were donated at the village’s Selection Convenience Store.

Val Worrall, who has lived in the village for 44 years, was behind the scheme with the help of shop owners Angela and Wayne Foster and, after they retired, Jay and Kajal Odedra. She said: “I was with my mother when she lived in south Devon. We heard that a nearby villagers had sent out parcels and it seemed like a wonderful thing to do.

“We didn’t think it was going to snowball but that is what happened.”

Val said she and other villagers initially paid the postage cost of the parcels out of their own pockets.

“We sent them every week, on average it was about two or three. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone in the village.”

This generosity did not go unappreciated, with soldiers sending over 100 letters of thanks to Val.

In March a former worker at the shop Sub Lieutenant Tristan Bell of HMS Montrose presented the shop with a ceremonial plaque as a gesture of thanks.

Val has also been invited to attend homecoming parades in Tidworth and Bury St Edmunds.

She said: “There was nothing political about the packages, we just wanted to show our support for the soldiers. They were under tremendous pressure and we wanted to show our support. In a way it is sad it is finished. But it is good that most of our men and women are back home.”