BIDEFORD and Barnstaple shoppers have shown their support for servicemen and women in Afghanistan by donating more than £2,000 to returning Royal Marines at Taunton-based 40 Commando. Collections at Green Lanes, Morrisons and Asda raised £2095.41 for the regiment, which lost 14 men during a six-month operational deployment in Afghanistan. The money was presented at the unit at the Norton Manor camp on Wednesday week ahead of this Wednesdays homecoming parade through the streets of Taunton. WO2 Alban Chennells, welfare officer at 40 Commando, said: This is a fantastic amount of money and I can assure you it will be used wisely to support our men and their families. We have taken a fair number of casualties during this tour who, depending on their injury, are in different stages of their recovery pathway. We will make sure that some of this money is used for these men, and their families, in particular. Ted Small, from Bideford, who helped to organise the collections under the Tri-Service Helping Hand charity, thanked everyone who donated to the marines welfare fund. Everyone who donated money has been entered into a free raffle draw with prizes kindly donated for free from local businesses, he said. Congratulations to F Brierley, who has won a large hamper of Thorntons chocolates and to Patrick Davies, who has won dinner for two at the Commodore Hotel in Instow. We will be holding a collection in aid of British Limbless Ex-Service Mens Association (BLSMA) next Easter, added Mr Small. If any former service personnel can help in any way we would like to here from them. They can contact me on (01237) 420647 or 07717 524440.