A west Leeds husband and wife have spent the last five years putting smiles on the faces of British soldiers fighting abroad.
Christine and Peter Throp, of Pudsey, founded their Boxes For Troops charity in 2006 as a “one off” venture but almost six years on and the couple have sent 12,000 2kg boxes containing everything from wet wipes to energy bars.
Former Coldstream Guard Peter, whose daughter Katharine is a major with the Royal Logistics Corps, said they were preparing to post out the final batch of 250 boxes.
He said: “At the moment, our kitchen is choc-a-bloc with boxes, you can’t move in there. This is the last of our boxes, we are down to our last £250.
“I can’t believe the charity turned out how it did – when we started it, it was meant to be a one-off delivery but within a few days of telling other people, I had donations of £800 and before we knew it, local firms were sending us all kinds of things, one even donated 85,000 wet wipes.”
The boxes, each of which has to weigh under 2kg in order to qualify for free postage to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, contain things like sweets, biscuits, wet wipes, energy bars, deoderant, toothbrushes and toothpaste - in the past Mr and Mrs Throp have even sent out copies of the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Other firms have helped by allowing the charity to use warehouse space to store goods.
Phil Bridge, who runs Pudsey-based UK Express Couriers Ltd, said: “We let them use the warehouse and helped out with packaging. It’s a worthy cause and something we were happy to help with.”
Mr Throp added: “It’s just a little piece of home and if it puts a smile on their faces while they are out there, then that’s what we aim to do.
“This is our last batch of boxes but if we do get more firms interested, or more donations, we will obviously just keep sending them out. So long as our troops are out there and so long as we have things to send, we will send them.”
The couple regularly receive hand-written letters from troops who have received the packages.
Mr and Mrs Throp can be contacted on 0113 2576037 or 07939 228 463.