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Gifts prepared for our brave troops

by Angela Cole

Staying behind when your loved one is on active duty in Afghanistan is a stressful time for the wives, partners and families of serving soldiers, but Christmas can be the toughest time.

This week families and the servicemen colleagues of members of 36 Engineer Regiment from Maidstone, currently on six-month tours of duty packed up gifts to send to them in the war-torn area.

Jen Overland’s husband Mike, a Sergeant, is currently completing his second tour, after being posted in October. “It gets quite difficult,” said the 27-year-old, who has a son, Charlie, who will be three two days before Christmas, and Oliver, five. “You rely on your friends; you take it as it comes.”

Mike will be due back in March, but in the meantime they rely on keeping in touch online. “Whenever I am feeling a bit down I just write him something. The boys send him pictures and letters.

Sonita Kamband, whose husband Sgt Birendra Kambang was sent on active duty for the third time in September, packed presents for his colleagues with her daughter, Sunona, three, while her son Suvan, five, was at school.

“I am very happy when I get phonecalls and letters from him,” she said. “He is absolutely enjoying his job out there, but I am really desperate to see him.”
The family will also be reunited for Christmas, as he also will be home for his R&R leave, but ends his tour on March 13.

More interviews in this week's Kent Messenger, out now.

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