Sweet treats collected for injured troops

Ex-soldier Les Bates is collecting donations of sweets, pop & crisps from shoppers at Rushden Asda for soldiers being treated at Selly Oak hospital. Pictured also is Asda community life champion Billie Calland.

Ex-soldier Les Bates is collecting donations of sweets, pop & crisps from shoppers at Rushden Asda for soldiers being treated at Selly Oak hospital. Pictured also is Asda community life champion Billie Calland.

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Shoppers donated sweet treats for injured servicemen and women at a collection held by a Rushden man at a town supermarket.

Former soldier Les Bates, 55, held the collection at Rushden Asda to collect sweets, cans of fizzy drink and crisps for the defence unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

The hospital is the home of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, the main receiving unit for all military patients injured overseas.

Mr Bates, who served in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers from 1976 to 1986, said he contacted the hospital to see if he could help in any way after watching a documentary about the defence unit.

After being told there is always a need for sweets, nuts, crisps and cans of fizzy drink to give out to injured troops, Mr Bates organised the collection to take place outside the store.

He said he was very pleased by the response of most shoppers on the day.

He said: “I was very impressed with the response. One man gave me £150 worth of stuff.

“People were definitely keen to donate to this cause. Overall it was a good day. We collected enough items to fill dozens of boxes.

“I had a Mondeo estate and we had to drop the seats down to fit all the boxes in.”

Mr Bates added: “I’d like to thank Billie Calland from Asda for her help, and Winslow Ford of Rushden for lending me a car to do the collection in.

“I’d also like to thank the traders in Rushden High Street who contributed and Sprint Graphics, who came up with the graphics to put on the car at short notice.”

Mr Bates, who works as a lorry driver, will take the boxes of treats over to the hospital in January.