Pensioner parcels up presents for Afghan squaddies

Jan Milne was inspired to start the project when her son was deployed (Picture by Chris Jones)

A BIG-hearted Scots pensioner has single-handedly sent 355 parcels packed with snacks, toiletries and other goodies to British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

But Jan Milne, 82, has sent so many of the packages she has run out of names of squaddies to send them to.

The generous Fifer is inviting anyone with a son or daughter fighting the Taleban to get in touch and she will send a gift parcel halfway around the world.

Jan started sending the parcels when her son Colin, 49, a major in the Royal Signal Corps, was on his first tour in Afghanistan.

After sending him a parcel, the idea “snowballed” to the point where she was mailing goodies to total strangers.

Locals in Anstruther regularly chip in donations of £5 or £10 to help towards the cost.

Each parcel typically contains coveted items such as shortbread, packets of biscuits and toiletries such as shower gel.

Jan spends around £7 on each parcel and, provided they weigh less than 2KG, they are sent to Afghanistan for free.


The pensioner, who runs the British Legion bingo event every week, said: “I’ve got some lovely letters back, especially from the Gurkhas. They call me ‘respected ma’am’ and they’re very polite.

“The other soldiers are also very grateful. I met a sailor recently, he came to visit me at my house.

“He said he had been out there in the desert and he had received one of my packages.

“We had a drink and he told me a bit about what they were doing out there. It was very interesting listening to his side of the story.”

She added: “I just feel it is important to thank all the girls and boys over there who are doing such a great job in very challenging conditions.”

Jan explained how the scheme snowballed: “Mothers talk and I run the local British Legion bingo event twice a week so word soon got around about what I was doing.

“My son gave me a lot of the names but other local people have also been able to supply me with the details of possible recipients.

“People have even given me money after hearing what I have been doing. The response has been amazing.

“Local people have been fantastic and I just hope I can get some more names so I can send even more parcels.

“Anybody who has a son or daughter, or who knows anyone serving in Afghanistan, is welcome to get in touch with me. All I need is there name, rank and full British Forces post office address.”

To contribute, contact the Leven branch of the Royal British Legion on 01333 426058.