Islanders display support for troops
Shetlanders have shown overwhelming support for a campaign in aid of troops serving in Afghanistan.
Over 200 gift parcels have been sent from the isles since a drive was launched by charity Support Our Soldiers last month.
The figure is particularly impressive – not least because the quota set down for the organisation for the whole of Scotland is 750 for the year.
Islanders concerned for the welfare of soldiers have handed packages filled with goods such as toiletries, confectionery, magazines and puzzle books in their droves to the Lerwick branch of the British Legion.
Some of the squaddies have sent letters of thanks back to the isles, insisting the gifts have helped raise morale as the fight against the Taliban continues.
The appeal in Lerwick was set up by Lerwick Legion committee member John Best, a former regular army instructor with the TA at Fort Charlotte.
Branch secretary Bob Boston said he had been impressed with how warmly Shetlanders had responded to the appeal.
“At the start of the appeal we thought we were going to get 30 to 50 boxes, but it has gone way beyond expectations and it’s not finished yet,” he said.
When the appeal was launched Mr Boston took a number of boxes down south to hand over to Support Our Soldiers area co-ordinator Debra Milburn, before going on a two-week holiday. By the time he came back letters were already arriving at the Legion.
A letter from one soldier said: “The parcels make our lives a lot easier and the letters and cards raise morale immensely. It helps us to get through the months. We hope that this letter finds you well and lets you know how much we appreciate what you do in peace and war.”
Legion president Jack Inkster, who has himself seen active duty in the RAF, added his support to the initiative.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve been involved with – especially since we started getting the letters back. It makes it all worthwhile,” he said.
The campaign is ongoing and anyone who wants to donate a parcel can get in touch with the Lerwick Legion on (01595) 692325.