Papers’ shoebox gift campaign zooms past 1,000 mark

IT began as a head-to-head between two local newspapers in Fife, but the Glenrothes Gazette and the East Fife Mail have called a truce in their campaign to bring Christmas cheer to British troops in Afghanistan.

Today alone, the Glenrothes Gazette received over 100 shoeboxes full of treats and gifts for the soldiers, to bring its total up to 700.

Tomorrow, a delivery is expected of 65 boxes, from the Bank of Scotland, in Dunfermline.

Says Gail Milne, editor of the Glenrothes Gazette: “A school from Oban has sent down a batch too. It’s amazing how wide our reach has been, considering the campaign has only really been promoted in print, locally.”

In just four weeks, the two papers have together collected over 1,000 shoeboxes filled with goodies (like Irn Bru, shortbread and socks) for troops stationed on the front line.

Jerzy Morkis, editor of the East Fife Mail, whose idea the appeal was, said: “The generosity of our readers has been overwhelming. Many have been moved to tears over our appeal and the hundreds of messages sent to the troops includes support from MPs and MSPs, 91 year-olds and two year-olds.

“The local detachments of the Army Cadet Force and [charity] Parcels4Troops have been fantastic in collecting the donations and parcelling them up. It really has been a community effort.”

The first shoeboxes have already reached the soldiers and messages of thanks are filtering through from soldiers on the front line to the readers.