A TEENAGER has enlisted her school mates to send Christmas presents to soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Chelsey Cavanagh, 15, decided to organise the gifts because her older brother Scott is serving with the Royal Engineers on the frontline and will be away from the family over Christmas for the first time.

The 21-year-old has been on tour since August and will be based there until June next year.

Chelsey, working together with her head of year Rob Lyons, asked classmates at Wallingford School to help her collect presents.

In total, they have sent out 35 parcels.


The Oxford Times:

Scott Cavanagh


Chelsey, whose father Phil is in the RAF at Benson, said: “It is going to be hard without Scott and we were already thinking about what we could do for him.

“I know what it is like to not have a family member there for Christmas – I thought this was something I could do for people over there.

“Scott has been away before, but only for a month, so it will be quite difficult for us this Christmas.”

Chelsey said each form in her year collected items to put in the boxes, ranging from toiletries to chocolates.

She said: “The one we sent to my brother had a few more personal gifts from us but we tried to get a good range of things in every box.

“I think it is the first time the school has done it and it was really nice everyone got so involved.

“You can only send boxes if you have the name of someone there, but because of our military connections we had about 10 different addresses so they could be spread out across the squadrons.”

The Year 11 pupil has already received grateful messages from serving soldiers, including some RAF Engineers, who said: “It's really good to know that you are all thinking of us serving in Afghanistan this Christmas and taking time to donate items for parcels to send. The chocolates didn’t last long!”

She added: “When Scott comes back I think we are going to have another Christmas with him which will be really nice.”

To donate to the Soldiers’ Charity Christmas Appeal see soldierscharity.org/ celebrate