Gifts from locals arrive at Camp Bastion

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By CarlyBaldwin | Monday, October 29, 2012, 08:47

Sixty four boxes containing gifts have arrived at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the people of Walsall.

The gifts range from shower gel and sun cream, to flips flops and flannels - and were the idea of a serving police officer in Walsall, who's also a mother to a Royal Navy officer from 857 Squadron.

PC Emma Smith came up with the idea of a "Bin Relay", which consisted of covering large collection bins with Royal Navy posters and moving them around police stations within the Walsall area.

Emma explained: "From a mother's point of view it was understandably going to be a difficult time for me when my son left. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself until I checked my post.

"The Royal Navy sent me a huge welfare package, which gave me advice on how to cope with my son's deployment as an air engineering technician and provided me with lots of information about organisations who could help me.

"I began to wonder - what I could do to help the Squadron, to make them happy, so I could feel happy back?"

The 857 Squadron is a team of pilots, observers, analysis specialists and engineers providing surveillance and are known as the 'eyes in the sky', as they supply vital information about insurgent activity.

Over their three to four month tour the men and women work continuously without a day off for the entire time of their deployment.

Emma continued: "The bins were initially filled with shower gels, sweets, other toiletries and biscuits. However within days of the bins being positioned, word soon got out and the generosity of Walsall people and local businesses was overwhelming."

Emma and Walsall Police have been deeply touched by the kind support and donations they have received from the general public and local businesses including; WS1, Vogue and Couture Nightclubs, B&M, Walsall College Public Services Course, Tesco, Asda George Street and Asda Living, Police Mutual, the Village Hotel and the public order training department at Cosford.

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