Our names are Lynne and Richard Hockey and we are Area Co-ordinators (ACs) for Caldicot and surrounding areas in South Wales (including Cardiff and the valleys). We became involved with SOS in 2009 when 2 of our nephews serving with the 1st Royal Welsh went on their 2nd and 1st tours of Afghanistan. We both work full time in very stressful and demanding jobs working for the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales and also as respite foster carers, but find the work we do for SOS a great stress reliever, as you are focusing on the sacrifices and efforts others are making on our behalf.


There are 3 words we would use to describe being an Area Co-ordinator for SOS. Challenging, interesting and rewarding. The role of an AC is challenging with regards to thinking of novel and exciting ways of generating income and donations for the charity, and keeping the contents of the boxes we send to our boys and girls fun yet practical. The role is also interesting as you get to meet so many wonderful, generous people who want to show their appreciation and support for our Armed Forces. Finally being an AC takes up a lot of free time, organising and attending events, packing boxes, writing letters, and getting all the parcels sent off within the deadline, however, the reward comes when you get home from work after a long stressful day and see a blue envelope on the door mat, opening it up and reading a letter from the front line, telling you how much it means to our boys and girls when they receive a parcel and see how much support there is for them back home.


Since we have become ACs for SOS we have become very familiar with our garage. We seem to spend every other weekend packing boxes and rotating stock. However, we would not be able to do half of what we do if it was not for the support of retired family members who do most of the running around for us especially finding shoe boxes. As an AC you are always thinking months ahead, Christmas begins in January with the sales, and you are always looking for special offers and thinking, “…that would be great to go to our boys and girls” whether it be water bombs, suntan lotion, or thermal socks.


We were very fortunate last year to represent SOS at 2 functions. Firstly we received a very special letter from one of the soldiers we had been sending boxes to whilst he was deployed in Afghanistan. It was an invitation to his wedding in London. It was an honour for us to attend and represent SOS, and there was even a mention of SOS and the support it gives our boys and girls in the wedding speech. The Brigadier of 106 (Wales) Brigade visited our stand at Armed Forces Day 2013 and invited us to attend a reception he was giving at the Royal Welsh Show, where we met people from other forces charities working in Wales.


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