LYNN’S PROFILE

My name is Lynn O’Brien, I am a Regional Co-ordinator in Scotland. Several years ago, when my son joined the army, social networking was not what it is now and I went on line searching for information and people to speak to as I knew being an army mum was going to change my life, little did I know that not only did my son’s career choice change my life but finding Support Our Soldiers was not only going to be my saviour but my involvement was going to change my life too!

Everyone on the forum was very supportive; there are a lot of people on there with a military background who can answer all your questions. The more I spoke to people the more interested in the charity I became and so, when I realised there were no co-ordinators in the Falkirk/Stirling area I volunteered to help, I started with a small number of boxes being sent out every month, progressed to 50 per month but the response is so amazing I now send 100 (500 at Christmas)

There are not as many co coordinators in Scotland as in the rest of the UK but we manage to cover most of the country with our contacts but there is room for a few more as I cover a massive area – most of the country in fact! But through my extensive support at my full time paid job and friends/military contacts I have, we manage no problem.

My daughter, Stephanie Dempsey, is my assistant co-ordinator and we work well together going to events all over the country with my other volunteers raising awareness and selling merchandise. We try to attend as many Armed Forces days as possible but, as most are on the same day, it is impossible to attend all the ones we would like to. Every year we attend mostly the same events such as Truckfest, The Scottish Motorcycle events, Highland Games and there are quite a few smaller events we like to attend – we even go over to Rothesay!

Monthly boxes vary; a typical year sees January with Burns boxes then February a normal top up of toiletries, goodies to eat and a puzzle or reading book. March boxes are for Easter and I involve schools, clubs and individuals in making up boxes, making handmade cards of support or donating items to be included in boxes all with an Easter theme. I also have knitters who make up chicks with soldier helmets on and these have a cream egg placed inside. The April and May boxes normally have items donated from the public with sweeties, toiletries and something unusual or a game to keep them amused when off duty. The June box is what we call the pool party box which has fruity sweeties, Capri sun – complete with a straw with an umbrella on it! Grass skirts and laiya, toddler paddling pools or inflatables. July and August revert back to sending items donated by the public then September sees the Halloween box going out with face masks, decorations and Halloween sweeties in a goodie bag! October again reverts to items from my ‘soldiers room’ then November sees my 500 Christmas boxes being sent.

It is a busy year all round with booking events, replying to enquiries and uplifting/speaking to groups and individuals but the feedback from our brave lads and lassies make it all worthwhile.

2 Comments

  1. S/SGT Graham McEwan 162 RLC PCTP BFSAI BFPO 655 July 7, 2016 Reply

    Ms O’Brien
    thank you again for the kind parcels sent out to BFPO 655 Falkland Islands, they have been a real moral lifter. The weather has started to change to real horrible winter conditions now and there is also a change over in lots of the sections. So some of the younger lads are seeing people they have made friends with go home has let their wee heads go down.
    The recent batch of parcels that came out contained the Big sun glasses/ inflatable footballs and other little fun things. I went around the sections I put the boxes in to and the faces they had as they put on the glasses and hula skirts was funny.

    I know they have a party event in the next few weeks and they are all planning to wear them as part of their outfits.

    It allowed me to introduce some of the commonwealth lads to the delights of Wham bars and Irn Bru which also went down well.

    Being in the Post Office part of the operation I see what it means to the sections when they do get the welfare packages from your company and it makes it worth it.

    From my own side of things, I have the good news to know I am coming home at the end of July back to my home and family in Glasgow. My tour with the Army Reserves will be over and after a period of leave it will be back to my normal job at home. I am looking forward to it.

    I will make a point to come over to see the girls on the Stall at the Rothsay Highland Games, my running club travel from Motherwell to the event every year and I intend to be taking part.

    again thank you for everything you and the girls from Scotland have done keeping myself and the lads over here cheered up.
    I know some of my team that worked for me sent over some pictures of penguins to Denny Primary School as a thank you also for the Easter cards.

    • Lynn O'Brien July 13, 2016 Reply

      Thanks for the kind words Graham, we am glad the pool party box had the desired effect, perhaps you will share a photo of party.

      We look forward to seeing you at Bute Highland Games

      Lynn & Stephanie x

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