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12-12-06, 06:15 AM
12 December 2006
Santa pops in to cheer up Marines' families
By Charlie Gall

SANTA brought early Christmas cheer yesterday to the families of Marines serving in Afghanistan.

He flew into the Royal Marines Condor base near Arbroath with a sleigh laden with goodies.

And it proved a wonderful surprise for the kids and the wives who know their men will be far away on Christmas Day.

The visit to Condor's Christmas party was a special treat from Santa, helped by the Daily Record and store giants Tesco.

Cheering children almost lifted the roof as Santa dropped in to shower them with dozens of gift bags containing toys.

Santa also surprised the mums with necklaces, watches, handbags and perfume.

And we added some extra fizz with bottles of bubbly.

Party organiser Karen Price said: "It was wonderful to see the joy in the kids' faces. It was excellent. The youngsters were well chuffed with their gifts, absolutely over the moon.

"We have a Christmas party on the base every year and our men would normally be at the party.

"But they went to Afghanistan in October and will be gone for at least six months.

"This year, the children and the mothers were on their own. It's a sad and lonely time to be on your own.

"Their fathers are not going to be at home on Christmas morning and obviously it's a time you'd like to spend as a family.

"But you've got to be conscious that you cannot dwell on the fact that dad's not there. You've got to get on with making it special for the sake of the children."

Corporal Jamie Sanderson's wife Karen took their two boys to the party to see Santa and she is still hopeful her husband could be one of the few who will be back for Christmas Day.

She said: "He puts the family first whenever he can but when he phones he wants to hear we're having fun.

"Jamie would be more upset if I was in tears. In fact, we were having such a happy time at the party that I missed a call from him."

Last week, three men from the base were injured in a suicide bombing in Kandahar.

Then the base lost Jonathan Wigley, 21, shot during an operation in Helmand province a week ago.

An MoD spokeswoman said: "Marine Wigley was single and didn't have a wife and kids at Condor. But he was based there and everyone feels the loss very keenly.

"Despite that, they were all determined to go ahead with the party. For a few hours, they can forget about all the stresses.

"It's wonderful to see the Daily Record supporting our boys at Christmas by giving extra sparkle to the kids' party."

Angus Bell, of Tesco, said: "When the Record contacted us, we were absolutely delighted to help."


12-12-06, 10:36 AM
Thanks Ellie,
Unfortunatly we have lost another young Royal Marine today in Afghanistan.
RIP Marine.