Shoebox scheme sees gifts treble for Forces

Sgt Danny Abdy, front, delighted to collect 300 shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts for the children of serviceman serving abroad, from the Scarborough based Shoeboxes4kids charity. Pictured with his fellow soldiers from 21 Royal Engineers based at Ripon, Major Lenny Lennox, and Staff Sgt Darren Readman, and Col Sgt David Lightfoot, and Sgt Simon Bangerot, from Scarborough T.A. Centre, with trainees from YH Training military preparation course, and volunteers from the charity. Photo by Andrew Higgins 124929b 06/12/12
Sgt Danny Abdy, front, delighted to collect 300 shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts for the children of serviceman serving abroad, from the Scarborough based Shoeboxes4kids charity. Pictured with his fellow soldiers from 21 Royal Engineers based at Ripon, Major Lenny Lennox, and Staff Sgt Darren Readman, and Col Sgt David Lightfoot, and Sgt Simon Bangerot, from Scarborough T.A. Centre, with trainees from YH Training military preparation course, and volunteers from the charity. Photo by Andrew Higgins 124929b 06/12/12

The ‘kindness and generosity” of Scarborough people have enabled 300 children whose parents are away serving in Afghanistan to get an extra special gift this Christmas.

After a successful inaugural year the Shoeboxes 4 Kids project came back for 2012 in the hope of bringing Christmas cheer to Armed Forces families.

The scheme sees people donate shoeboxes filled with gifts for children, which are then wrapped up and given to youngsters who have a parent serving overseas on Christmas day.

Last year the Scarborough based scheme collected in more than 100 shoeboxes, which were delivered to Catterick Garrison to be distributed to families.

This year the project has trebled in size, with an ‘overwhelming’ 300 shoe boxes collected for children whose parents serve in the 21 Engineering Regiment, based in Ripon.

Organiser of Shoeboxes 4 Kids Kathryn Duck said: “The response this year has been absolutely fantastic. Thank you to everyone who has donated gifts.

“Thanks to the generous residents, businesses and organisations of Scarborough was have managed to collect three times more than we did last year.

“We were hoping for growth with the scheme but had never imagined it would reach this scale in just the second year.

“We have high hopes now for even bigger and better things next year.”

Representatives from Scarborough’s Shoeboxes for Kids were invited to regimental Christmas party on Saturday, when the gifts were hand to the children.

Major Lenny Lennox of the 21 Engineers Regiment, said: “This is going to make a huge difference. Every year the forces get presents sent over to us, which is wonderful, but this is the first opportunity we have had to gifts for the children.

“Being away is hard on the whole family, particularly at Christmas which is viewed as a family time.

“Everyone sticks together in the regiment; everyone supports each other out on tour and families support each other back at home.

“However the fact that other people are thinking about us, and about our families, and have actually given gifts to our children is really moral boosting for us.

As a regiment we are very grateful for the kindness and generosity of everyone who has supported Shoeboxes 4 kids.