I have just launched the annual Treats For Our Troops campaign for 2013, and I hope that you will want to get involved.
Together with the Gazette, I have been running this campaign for about five years now, and we have always had an incredible response from the people of Hemel Hempstead.
Our troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan next year, and their duties will be handed over to local Afghan forces.
That means that this year should be our last opportunity to send Christmas parcels to our troops.
Christmas can be a very lonely time when you are serving overseas and a long way from family or loved ones, and not all of our servicemen and women have a lot of support back home.
Every year, I liaise directly with the local commanding officers as I want to make sure that our parcels will be distributed to those who might not have much home support.
If you would like to make up a shoebox parcel to send to our troops in time for Christmas, more details can be found on my website www.penning4hemel.com.
You can also call my office on 01442 251126.
There are a large number of women serving in Afghanistan now, so if you make up a parcel that might be more suitable for a female, please put an ‘F’ on the outside.
If you are unable to make up a full shoebox, but would still like to help, individual items can be donated and the Hemel Hempstead Lions have, once again, kindly agreed to make them up into parcels.
Parcels can be dropped off at a number of drop off points including my office at The Bury in Queensway.
Closing date is Friday, November 22, to make sure they arrive in Afghanistan in good time for Christmas.
I really appreciate your support with this and I know that our efforts are appreciated from the very positive feedback I receive.
Continuing the military theme, it was a great honour to have been invited to be an honorary colonel of the Army Cadet Force.
As a former army cadet myself, and a former Grenadier Guardsman and medic in the Royal Army Medical Corps, being asked to take on this role is very special to me.
I have done a lot or work with the ACF over the past few years; including joining the Herts and Bucks Wing at an exercise at Longmoor Camp in Hampshire a couple of years ago.
This new role will allow me to help the Army Cadet Force even more.
I know from my own experience the benefits of belonging to the ACF.
It is a great organisation and really helps develop young peoples’ potential, sense of adventure and self-confidence.
My first job in this role was to present campaign medals to some of our brave soldiers on their return from Afghanistan, in particular a group of medics who had performed some incredible life-saving operations in the field.
Mike Penning is the MP for Hemel Hempstead. You can contact him via his website at www.penning4hemel.com or by phone on 01442 251126.