Well, the bin was relayed, metaphorical batons were exchanged and as the bins passed from station to station (as Bowie would say), so did the charitable spirit pass around the Walsall community.
What started off as an effort to collect a few bags of sweets here and there soon snowballed into a remarkable show of public spirit.
Not only did the bins fill, several local businesses stepped forward to help out and the cumulative result was a king’s ransom in goodies for the girls and boys of 857 Squadron who are at this very moment enduring the heat and the discomfort of the Afghan desert.
Although there are more goodies to come, highlights of the donations received include:
- Fifty four boxes full of shower gels, other toiletries, sweets, biscuits, flasks, flannels and moisturisers
- A Pure DB radio for the hanger
- Bose Speaker System to be used with said radio – Emma said it was ‘louder than a nightclub’
- One hundred shower gels for 857’s sister squadron (854 Squadron) who take over in December
- A very large box of very large t -shirts, shorts, flip flops and jogging bottoms
- Cash donation for a party at base when they get back
- A further cash donation for the Welfare Fund of £1303.74 with more cash donations still to come
Representatives from 857 Squadron travelled all the way up from RNAS Culdrose (two hundred and seventy three miles) to receive the items and got to meet with Emma and others at Walsall Police Station who had helped make the relay such a success.
Visiting the station from ‘HMS Seahawk’, as Culdrose is known, was Lt Philip Curry, AET Brett Runham, AET Michael ‘Clarky’ Clark, and from the Wolverhampton recruiting office was Chief Petty Officer David Casewell and Petty Officer Tina Mann.
A special thanks to WS1 and Vogue Nightclubs, Asda, Graham Pinches’ Couture nightclub in Stafford, the Walsall College Public Service course, Comet, Tesco, B&M, The Village Hotel, Police Mutual and of course all of the police staff at Walsall who had donated their time and effort to the bin relay.
Finally, a quick correction to the previous blog on the relay as pointed out to me by Chief Petty Officer Casewell at the presentation – they are of course sailors, not soldiers – apologies!