THE FREEMASONS are boosting armed forces’ morale in Afghanistan with personal gift packs.
Members of Albert Edward Lodge, at Greenhead, are posting parcels of goodies to servicemen posted in Afghanistan where morale has taken a battering after Tuesday’s atrocity which left five British soldiers dead.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing of five the British soldiers by a rogue Afghan policeman.
The servicemen – three from the Grenadier Guards and two from the Royal Military Police – died when the officer turned his gun on them at a checkpoint in Nad-e-Ali in Helmand Province on Tuesday.
Another six British soldiers and two Afghan policemen were wounded in the shooting, which sent shockwaves through the coalition mission in Afghanistan.
The masons’ gift packages, which contain everything from sweets to cosmetics to books, are sent in masonic Buddy Boxes, which have been co-ordinated by the Ministry of Defence.
Lodges across the country send the goodie boxes every fortnight to several chosen members of the Army, Navy and Air Force while on their tours of duty. Albert Edward Lodge has so far sent around 50 packages via the British Forces Post Office to Afghanistan.
The lodge is currently sending boxes to three members of the Coldstream Guards, including Guardsman L Roper, who is from Huddersfield.
Philip Kaye, charity representative of Albert Edward Lodge, has been filling the boxes.
He said: "One member of the lodge has a son serving in Afghanistan so it started from there.
"We’ve had emails and letters from people serving and they are very grateful that someone is thinking about them and it boosts their morale. It’s nice when you get a letter.
"It’s a tough job out there so it’s good to give them something to make it a little easier.
"I don’t mind going to Sainsbury’s every two weeks because it’s a good cause.
"I’ve sent so many I’ve got it down to a fine art!"