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Soldiers say thank you to young library members 8 November 2008

FOUR local soldiers called in at the Family Library today (Saturday) to say thank you to young members who boosted their morale while they were on a tour of duty in Iraq. Soldiers at library

The men from the 1st Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment chatted to young members at the Department of Education-run library in Westmoreland Road, Douglas. They presented the librarian-in-charge, Mary Cousins, with a framed picture of the Battalion taken in Osnabruck, Germany, before the tour of duty to Iraq.

Sergeant Dave Cameron, who hails from Cumbria, was joined by the four local men - Kingsmen John Quaggan, Stuart Dawson, Mike Lawson and James Kelly.

Library members sent the soldiers morale-boosting cards, letters and gifts of Manx Knob sweets while they were serving in Basra.

Mary explained:

'Last November, the media in the UK were reporting that British soldiers in Iraq felt people at home weren’t supporting them. I thought this was very sad because I was certain that, even if you disapproved of the war, you’d support soldiers putting their lives at risk while they were doing their job. So, we created little cards and asked our members to fill them with colourful pictures We sent these to the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment because we knew that Manx boys were in their Battalion. We got a lovely response from the Regiment and sent more cards, decorations and Manx Knobs - the sweet for heroes - at Christmas.’

Sergeant Cameron said the cards and letters were turned into a collage and displayed on the wall of the dining tent. 'It did keep the boys going through a six month tour,' he said.

Mary added:

'It was such a pleasure to see Sgt Cameron and the Manx Kingsmen here to be able to show them how much support people at home have for the troops. And it was wonderful for all the children to see the soldiers who they had sent all the cards and gifts to.’

While in the Island the soldiers are also attending a civic dinner and taking part in Douglas’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony, where they will lay a wreath.

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