Soldier parcel charity hails '˜wonderful' donation

A small Littlehampton charity which sends parcels to soldiers overseas has received a big donation from a company in Chichester.

Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 1:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:27 pm
DM1790585a.jpg Support Our Soldiers charity thanks its supporters. Head volunteer Penny Keen, left and Alison Whitburn, Morrisons community champion. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170409-154104008

Support our Soldiers in Littlehampton received 27 parcels from the West Sussex County Council Highways Department and construction company Balfour Beatty, based in Chichester – which is half of what lead volunteer Penny Keen sent last month.

The 67-year-old wanted to say a big thank you on behalf of the charity. She said: “I couldn’t believe it. They had even put letters in each parcel. It was wonderful; it is so nice for the soldiers to get parcels from other people because it shows them that other people care.

“The parcels they did were superb.”

Support our Soldiers was founded in 2003 by two servicemen to keep up morale during the war in Afghanistan. It picked up support nationally and became a registered charity in 2007, sending parcels to members of the armed forces serving overseas.

Penny got involved five years ago after sending a parcel to a friend’s son in Afghanistan, and she has not looked back since.

With five other volunteers, she collects money for parcels at Morrisons in Wick and at the town’s armed forces day. They contain home comforts like biscuits and sweets, shower gels and letters, and have been sent to servicemen and women around the world, from the Falklands Islands to Iraq, Afghanistan, Oman and Bahrain.

Penny said she had heard that soldiers often cry when they receive one: “I had a soldier come to see us on armed forces day, and he had us in tears. He so wanted to get across how much it means to the people out there.”

To donate or volunteer, call 07771 605 455.

Steve Philips, Contract Director for Balfour Beatty Living Places, said: “We’re proud to be a part of this initiative to provide morale boosting goodie boxes to the Armed Forces. Support Our Soldiers is a charity close to our hearts as 10% of Balfour Beatty Living Places employees who work in partnership with West Sussex County Council are ex-military.

“This is another example of Balfour Beatty’s strong commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community, for which we were recently awarded the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award 2017.”