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Operation Shoe Box has lift off

PUBLISHED: 15:43 24 February 2010 | UPDATED: 10:46 12 August 2010

HUNDREDS of shoeboxes filled with gifts for troops in Afghanistan were collected from a shopping centre.

HUNDREDS of shoeboxes filled with gifts for troops in Afghanistan were collected from a shopping centre.

Shoppers at the Walnuts in Orpington donated some 200 boxes filled with everyday items from home for Operation Shoe Box.

Founder of the charity Ian Whiteway collected the donations last Thursday, ahead of schedule due to the launch of Operation Mostarak, the largest offensive in Afghanistan since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001.

Mr Whiteway said: "I would like to say a big thank you to all at the Walnuts and the people of Orpington for what they have done. It means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to our troops.

"The boxes will now go straight to Camp Bastian where 50 boxes will go to recovery mechanics who visit patrols to check on vehicles. The rest of the boxes will go to padres who will also help to distribute them to forward operating bases who really are in the middle of nowhere."

This month, the shopping centre called for residents and shoppers to take part in the appeal to donate items such as deodorant, sweets and razors to help troops who have been away from home for months.

Martin Price, centre manager, said: "We are very proud to have collected these boxes for our forces. The support we have received has been fantastic, thank you to all that have donated, your generosity is greatly appreciated."

Filled show boxes can still be donated until Sunday, February 28 to Karen Smith at the Centre Management suite in The Walnuts.

For information on items that can be donated, go to www.thewalnutsshoppingcentre.com.

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