School children help to bring festive cheer to Hornchurch soldier in Afghanistan

A HORNCHURCH soldier and his regiment serving in Afghanistan got some special gifts from home on Christmas Day after generous students from his former primary school sent out some food parcels to the troops.

Jamie Rush, 19 from Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch who is part of the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment got the festive parcels in time for Christmas Day in Helmand Province, Afghanistan after a appeal by students from Ardleigh Green Junior School in Hornchurch.

Jamie’s dad, Richard Rush said: “A lot of the soldiers serving in Afghansitan did not get any thing sent out for Christmas, so to get these food parcels from the children made all the difference and it really made their Christmas this year extra special.”

The school launched the appeal after Jamie’s mum Susan visited the school in October and told them about the plight of the soldiers in Aghanistan.

The school decided to create the parcels for the troops as a way of reminding them of home and giving them a special gift on Christmas Day.

Susan said: “There was nothing the kids wouldn’t do.

“They just wanted to help out in any way to make the day extra special and to make the soldier’s Christmas away from their families easier.”

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The appeal saw the children and their parents donating items including boxes of chocolates, dried noodles, snack pots to fill in the shoeboxes.

The youngsters also sent out Christmas cards and letters to the troops passing on Christmas messages and wishing them a merry christmas.

The items were packed into 138 shoe boxes which were dispatched two week’s before so that the troops could get them in time for Christmas.

Susan said: “The response was just fantastic and I just could not believe how well they had done.”

The former Ardleigh Green student joined up to the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment after completing his training in the parachute regiment a year ago.

Three months ago Jamie and the rest of the regiment based in Colchester were posted to Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

Richard said: “I think they are all finding it very difficult because they are in the firing line 24/7 of the day so to have these home comforts is just amazing.

“I would just like to thank all the kids at the school for everything that they have done.”

The School’s headteacher, John Morris said; “I think what made the appeal extra special was that Jamie was an ex pupil and the kids were able to relate to him and know that not so long ago he would have been sitting in the same hall for assembly as them.”