April 23 2014 Latest news:
By Matthew Gooding
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
A kind-hearted Royston girl is sending a hand-made card to every serving military policeman in Afghanistan this Christmas.
Two weeks ago Hannah Bratton, 10, of Owen Drive, Royston, came up with the idea of distributing hand-made cards to those who are facing a difficult Christmas away from their loved ones.
She chose the Royal Military Police in memory of her grandfather, James Heathcliffe, who was part of the service 22 years, and initially hoped to send 189 cards to Afghanistan, one for each MP serving there.
The project, dubbed Hand Made Smiles, has captured the imagination of children in the town after being publicised via Facebook, with many youngsters contributing cards of their own. At the time of writing over 250 cards had been received.
Jayne Bratton, Hannah’s mum, said: “I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of children who are making cards for our soldiers and deeply grateful to all the grown-ups who have helped make this all possible, not only have they helped give smiles to 189 soldiers who can’t be with their families and loved one this Christmas, they have also made my daughter’s idea come true.”
After choosing the Royal Military Police, Hannah contacted the organisations headquarters. They agree to add personal names to each envelope and deliver them to the soldiers. The cards were collected this weekend by Captain Sav Kyriakou, and were shipped out Camp Bastion in Afghanistan yesterday. The extra cards will be distributed to Royal Military Police Chelsea Pensioners.
Mrs Bratton said: “I was blown away that my 10-year-old was completely unphased at calling a serving army colonel and talking her idea through with him.
“Hannah has now decided to make this bigger next year and thereby give more smiles. I am truly grateful to the community.”
Next year Hannah plans to expand the scheme to reach more people around the world, and is looking to recruit a committee of young people from the town. For more information on Hand Made Smiles, log on to http://handmadesmiles.org.uk.