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Women prove they're real cards!

PUBLISHED: 12:09 18 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:42 25 August 2010

HOME THOUGHTS: Lilian Connor, Doreen Armstrong, Mavis Bradley and Christina Clements.

HOME THOUGHTS: Lilian Connor, Doreen Armstrong, Mavis Bradley and Christina Clements.

SOLDIERS on the battlefields of Afghanistan are being cheered up by gifts sent from home by a Woman s Institute.

SOLDIERS on the battlefields of Afghanistan are being cheered up by gifts sent from home by a Woman's Institute.

Christina Clements, 62, of Cedar Road, Dartford, is president of Crayford WI, one of the oldest in Kent with a 90-year history.

The members first got involved in sending gifts to serving soldiers in 2008 when they shipped off 700 home-made cards.

Since then the 60-strong group have teamed up with national organisation SOS (Support Our Services) via the MOD to deliver boxes crammed with essentials.

She said: "All the women fully support our troops in Afghanistan and around the country. We have no political motivation but simply want to help them in any little way.

"As a group we have been doing this for a few years but we feel it is especially significant at the moment due to the heavy casualties and the operation we are hearing about now."

Since Operation Moshtarak started in February this year several British deaths have been confirmed. It has led to greater public awareness about the role our soldiers face in Afghanistan.

The group first sent blank Christmas, birthday and celebration cards to troops so soldiers could write and send cards to their loved ones back home. Most were hand-made although some were bought and sent out as they are unavailable in the region.

In 2009 they also sent get well wishes and parcels with essential basics such as toilet rolls and toothpastes. Members have also knitted garments and sent books and games to injured soldiers being treated at the rehabilitation centre in Hedley Court.

She added: "We have had letters from Afghanistan thanking us for our parcels and cards. It's so heart-warming to see how appreciative they are for the simple, basic things in life. But it us who are so grateful for all they are doing. They are in Helmand in Afghanistan, it's a terribly hard time for our troops."

The group became involved in helping our troops abroad after Mrs Clements saw an article in a paper-crafting magazine and decided to help. Members also regularly make baby clothes and blankets for the premature baby unit at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup.

l Do you help our troops abroad, or is a relative serving in Afghanistan? E-mail michael.adkins@archant.co.uk

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