Troop Aid charity predicts to be busier than ever
An Irishman expects the charity he founded will be as busy as ever in 2015, even though demand for the specialised service it provides should be diminishing.
Troop Aid was founded by Solihull veterans Al Sutton and Derek Joss in 2006 and provides personal items to servicemen who are injured in war zones.
Despite troops withdrawing from Afghanistan, Troop Aid has seen increased demand for its services in recent months.
The packages are now being sent to the Royal Navy Hospital ship Argus, which is helping to fight the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, to troops on exercise in Kenya and those serving in Mali as part of an ongoing European Union training mission to maintain security and the long term stability of the West African country.
Al, who is originally from Wicklow and was a Captain in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, set up the charity after he and Derek discovered soldiers wounded or injured in war zones or training accidents often had no personal kit when they were flown into Birmingham for emergency treatment.
Now the charity sends out thousands of grab bags of personal items, which include clothing and toiletries, to UK Armed Forces bases in many parts of the world.
The charity has raised £70,000 since its launch and funds were further boosted recently at the charity’s annual ball held at the National Motorcycle Museum, which raised around £12,000.
Al said the bags of kit specifically designed for use by British Forces personnel who were wounded or injured were now being sent out all around the world.
Destinations also included Iraq and Afghanistan where UK troops were still engaged in support and training roles and also Cyprus and Germany.
Al’s wife and Troop Aid secretary Pam Sutton said: “Both Al and I are deeply indebted to all our supporters and to our dedicated band of volunteers, without whose help we simply could not have been so successful in helping injured service personnel.
“It was thought that demand for their bags would decline with the withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan but the opposite has actually happened with more and more of them being sent out in case of need.”