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Hats off to couple sending troops headgear

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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A COUPLE who have sent nearly 11,000 morale-boosting gifts to conflict zones in Iraq and Afghanistan are now sending 4,000 hats to soldiers.

Curry Rivel duo Maurice Benton and Joanne Goody-Orris are sending over the hats that have been knitted by women in the Royal British Legion, including those of the Langport branch.

The woolly skull caps are designed to go under the helmets of our troops to keep their heads warm during the winter months – when temperatures can drop to minus 13 degrees.

The couple, affectionately known as Mo and Jo, have sent more than 10,700 shoe boxes full of treats to Iraq and Afghanistan since coalition forces landed in the Middle East under Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush.

Mrs Goody-Orris said: "These hats will help to keep their heads warm as many of them have their heads shaven and it gets very cold in the winter.

"The ladies at the British Legion have been knitting hundreds of them, everybody seems to have rallied round.

"We've received about 9,000 letters from the boys thanking us – they love it, they seem absolutely thrilled that a couple of strangers are thinking about them.

"They've got to have support, because if they don't have support they won't feel like fighting."

Mrs Goody-Orris writes personal letters to each recipient of a gift parcel and received lovingly written responses every week.

The letters Mo and Jo have recently been featured in a book by Andrew Roberts called Love, Tommy.

They have been praised by high-ranking military officials and received letters of gratitude from the Royal family.

The couple were also given the rare award of being made honorary Gurkhas for their continued support of the regiment.

Another of their services includes sending packages of fruit to wounded soldiers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

But after government cuts to the armed forces the serviceman they usually send the packages with is no longer able to take the fruit.

So the couple are appealing for anyone who is travelling to Birmingham to help them by taking the bundles.

Anyone who is able to help can contact the couple by calling 01458 253759.

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