BIG-hearted folk at a residential home in Weymouth are backing the Dorset Echo’s Treats For Troops campaign.

Residents in the extra care unit at Westhaven House are supporting soldiers, sailors, and marines on frontline duty in Afghanistan by filling shoeboxes with morale boosting goodies.

Scheme manager Carol Matthews said the tenants’ record for supporting good causes had left her confident that Treats for Troops would strike a chord.

She said: “The people I look after here have always been generous. Many of the tenants have lived through wars or have family members serving in Afghanistan.

“When we started collecting we were aiming for 10 boxes, but we’ve ended up with 36.”

D-Day veteran Frank Hartley, 91, said his wartime experiences taught him the importance of home comforts while on active service.

He said: “The boys are going through a rough time. I went through a rough time 60 years ago and I know that a change from bully beef and biscuits can make a huge difference.”

Margaret Lambourne, 88, said her inspiration came from her niece’s son, Lee Fraser, who is serving in Afghanistan.

She said: “I’ve just added a few bits and pieces which I hope will make the troops a bit happier. I admire them tremendously, and hope they all come home safely.”

Doris Jarman, 89, is a past master at packing comfort boxes for troops, and drew on her experiences of sending treats to her late husband Sgt Bill Jarman during his Second World War service in north Africa with the Fifth Army.

Women’s Royal Air Force veteran Norma Mellor, 86, said Treats For Troops was a ‘marvellous campaign’ and certain to be appreciated.

Dorothy Mutch, 78, said her great niece, Emily Payne, had told her that she had ‘treasured’ comfort boxes received while on duty in Kosovo. Tenant Stephanie Turner took charge of packaging the treats, filling the boxes with everything from wet wipes to puzzle books.

She said: “Treats for Troops has been a really easy campaign to support.

“People have just put a few extra bits in their shopping trolleys.”

Relief housing officer Pat Sherret brought her grandchildren, Elliot Floyd, 13, and his brother, Euan, seven, to show their appreciation.

The boys’ father, Royal Marine police officer Phil Floyd will soon be returning from Kandahar, and the proud youngsters said they were really missing him.

How you can help

What to put in: Biscuits, wet wipes, fruity chewy sweets, used or new books, puzzle and crossword books, make-up products, chewing gum and mints, letters, travel games, packs of playing cards, pots of long life fruit in jelly, lip salve, underwear, moisturising lotion, magazines, custard and rice pudding, long-life food, small packets of dried fruit, dried nuts, marshmallows (also used for padding, Calypso juices, variety cereal packs, foot gel or powder.

What not to put in: Chocolate, aerosols, alcohol, perfumed soap, anything that will melt, heavy items, batteries.

Collection bin locations

WEYMOUTH: Dorset Echo headquarters, Granby Industrial Estate; Superdrug, New Bond Street; Asda, Newstead Road, Morrisons, Dorchester Road; WH Smith, St Mary Street; Boots, St. Mary Street; Value House, Wyke Regis; Wilkinsons, Westham Road; Rieker Shoes, St Thomas Street; Littlemoor Hardware; Tesco Express.

DORCHESTER: Dorset Echo, Antelope Walk; Dorset County Council, Collition Park; Superdrug, South Street; Wellworths, South Street; Tesco, Weymouth Avenue; WH Smiths, South Street; SCATS Countrystore; Mousetrap.

BRIDPORT: Bridport News office, East Street.

PORTLAND: Codfathers Fish & Chips; Hairstudio; George Inn.