AN army of wheelie bins have trundled into action to help troops serving in Afghanistan this Christmas. North Devon and Torridge councils have provided them as collection points for the Royal Marines Association's appeal for essential items to send to ser

AN army of wheelie bins have trundled into action to help troops serving in Afghanistan this Christmas.North Devon and Torridge councils have provided them as collection points for the Royal Marines Association's appeal for essential items to send to servicemen and women who won't be at home for the holidays.Most supermarkets and other locations in several communities will have a collection point, with a deadline of December 6 for donations. See below for list. Troops in utilitarian bases in Afghanistan often don't have access to luxuries or even everyday items, because of the difficulties re-supplying.But last year there was enough donated for everyone there to receive a parcel of goodies each.Appeal organisers are looking for: All toiletries - for both men and women - including razors and wet wipes (although no glass or aerosol containers may be included;) tea and coffee bags, sweeteners, plain biscuits, mince pies and cakes, sweets, dried fruit and nuts, playing cards, Oxo and Pot Noodles, small Christmas puddings and chewing gum."Last year we sent more than 1,300 parcels to our troops but this year we hope to do even better," said Ted Small of the North Devon RMA branch."You will have no idea what a morale booster it is to know people at home are thinking about them and supporting them."Speaking for North Devon Council, Councillor Rodney Cann added: "We were delighted to donate these bins to such a worthy cause. Our local servicemen and women are doing a sterling job in Afghanistan and it's fantastic we can show our appreciation in this way."A special effort in Braunton last year saw a small mountain of goods collected. Jasmine Chesters, who is again helping to co-ordinate the appeal there, said: "I actually met someone who received one of our parcels last year and he said it was greatly appreciated."It just helps them to know everybody is thinking about them." For more information or to take a collection bin, Ted Small can be contacted on (01237) 420647 or visit www.northdevon.gov.uk Donations can be left at: Barnstaple - Civic Centre, Co-op Sticklepath, Brian Fords, Sainsbury's, Somerfield.Bideford - Co-op, Morrison's, Blight's Garage.Braunton - Tesco, Somerfield, Tourist Information Centre (Caen Street.)Also: Co-op Westward Ho! and Appledore; Tesco Ilfracombe; Somerfield South Molton and Okehampton plus Waitrose Okehampton.