Anglians campaign through £300k barrier

A CAMPAIGN to raise money in support of Royal Anglian soldiers has raised more than three times its target amount - smashing through the £300,000 barrier.

Craig Robinson

A CAMPAIGN to raise money in support of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan has raised more than three times its target amount - smashing through the £300,000 barrier.

The Royal Anglian Memorial Fund was launched last year to honour those who had fought and lost their lives during a gruelling six-month campaign in Helmand Province.

The aim was to raise £100,000 to create a lasting tribute to those who were killed - with the rest of the money used to provide support for soldiers injured in the conflict.

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Although the appeal has now officially closed military chiefs are still receiving donations and they confirmed the figure currently stands at £328,000.

The fund was established last summer when it became clear the Royal Anglians - which recruit in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex - were sustaining high levels of casualties.

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The final toll was nine killed in action and 120 wounded though there are soldiers who are now showing signs of post traumatic stress.

One of those who died was 19-year-old Aaron McClure, from Ipswich, who was a member of the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment - nicknamed the Vikings. He was killed with two colleagues in a “friendly fire” bombing.

Last night his mother Lorraine McClure said: “The amount raised is absolutely brilliant - it's fantastic news.

“It's a comfort to know that people are still supporting the campaign and I would encourage people to keep the donations coming in.”

She said Thursday was a year since Aaron's funeral and it had been a difficult time for the whole of the family.

“We've had a hard couple of weeks and we have been very up and down but we are plodding on,” she said.

The appeal will provide a lasting memorial to those killed in Afghanistan and will be sited at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, where the regiment has a museum.

However it will also offer financial support to soldiers wounded in the conflict to help them rehabilitate and where possible resume their military careers.

Some money from the fund has already been distributed to help wounded soldiers recover and has been used to buy exercise bikes and to pay for travel costs for those needing treatment at the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court near Epsom in Surrey.

The monument - which is due to be unveiled on Remembrance Sunday - will bear the names of Pte Chris Gray, L Cpl George Davey, Cpl Darren Bonner, L Cpl Alex Hawkins, Pte Tony Rawson, Capt David Hicks, Pte John Thrumble, Pte Aaron James McClure and Pte Robert Foster.

N Anyone wanting to give to the 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund can make cheques payable to CB 1 R Anglian and send them to Major R C Barrett, Treasurer, 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, Surrey, GU24 0DT.

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