CHRISTMAS presents paid for by generous folk in the St Buryan community “meant the world” to troops in Afghanistan.
The presents were the idea of Anita George, landlady of the Logan Rock Inn at Treen, who organised well-attended pub quizzes and other events to raise funds for the parcels.
She was responding to a conversation with pub local Major Richard Harmer, who is battery commander of the Theatre Integrated Unmanned Air Systems (IUAS) Battery Group on Operation Herrick 19 in Afghanistan.
Richard, a former St Buryan cricketing colleague of Anita’s sons Mark and Nick, had mentioned to Mrs George during his pre-tour leave that he would be away in Helmand Province with his Battery during the Christmas period.
As a result Mrs George not only set about organising the fundraising events and filling the parcels but also asked pupils at St Buryan Academy, where Mrs George is a member of the governing body, to write Christmas cards.
Bombardier Aaron Harvey, 25, was one of the many to receive a parcel, and he said: “It’s nice to know people back in the UK are thinking of us, certainly at this time of year.
“To think they have come from a small village none of us had heard of before the boss (Major Hamer) explained about it is even more special.”
Gunner Kurtis Dainty, 21, said: “The parcel has all sorts of things, including sweets, Christmas hats and a card. I will be writing back very soon.”
Lots of the soldiers will be writing back to thank those who sent the parcels and St Buryan Academy.
Major Harmer added: “We are all so grateful to the ladies for this.
“They didn’t have to do it, but the conditions out here are harsh whatever the season, not least for those of us who are away from young families.
“We need to stick together at times like this and the parcels enabled us to do that on Christmas Eve – they meant the world to the boys.”
The IUAS Battery Group is part of 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery (Wessex Gunners), stationed at Larkhill in Wiltshire, and operates unmanned surveillance aircraft which are unarmed and flown by trained pilots from the ground.
They operate from Camp Bastion as well as outstations, providing protection and ‘eyes in the sky’ for British, Coalition and Afghan troops on the ground.