DEREK & JEAN’S PROFILE
A Year in the life of an Area Coordinator for Support Our Soldiers.
Since ‘ signing up’ to become AC’s of Kent we, Jean & Del King, have enjoyed every minute of our service. We are both committed Christians, Scout Leaders and Del is a Lay Minister in the Church of England. We both love Portugal and try to escape our busy lives, two or three times a year, to our little ‘bolt hole’ on The Algarve.
We love to serve people and feel that is why we joined SOS in the first place. Del served twelve years as a regular soldier a good number of years ago and saw service in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cyprus and West Berlin as well as the UK. Jean joined Del after their wedding and lived in West Berlin for three years. We know what it is like to serve away from home, especially at Christmas, and knew the joys of having parcels and presents sent. We both imagine as we are packing ‘care packages’ what it would be like to have a parcel from a total stranger – but then when we receive thank you letters we know how much our parcels are appreciated.
I guess we look at our year starting in earnest as we start our Christmas appeal. We send out lots of emails and letters to Scout Groups around our District and County and about a third of the parcels we are given come from Beaver’s, Cub’s, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. We visit the young people at their weekly meetings and give a short talk to encourage them to donate parcels or parcel fillers .We tell the youngsters that lots of our Armed Forces Personnel would have probably served in the Scout Association at some time in their lives. They are more able to relate to this and respond in a very positive way.
November is the time one of our back bedrooms is turned into an SOS packing facility and fairly long hours are spent checking, packing and preparing for posting but it really never, ever seems to become a chore. A little prayer is said for each person who will be the one to have the box even though we are unaware as to who that person may be. We are a little restricted as to where we are able to post parcels in local post offices but have built up a good working relationship with two post offices on the other side of Rochester, our own post office in our Villages closed a few years ago.
December days are spent sorting through the excess boxes & items preparing them for posting after the holiday season is over then it is just a case of carrying on through the other months of the year.
We carry out a couple of fundraising events for SOS and also attend the local Armed Forces Day event at the end of June but because of our other commitments we really can’t stretch ourselves any further.
Jean & Del King