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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Charity set up for Gulf troops
Soldier from the Black Watch in Basra
Soldiers have endured stiff opposition
A new charitable fund was launched on Wednesday to support British forces serving in Iraq.

The UK Forces Gulf Fund has been set up in response to ordinary people's wish to thank the soldiers for putting their lives on the line, actress Penelope Keith said.

Speaking at the launch, she said she had "real admiration" for the dedication of the troops.

Money raised will be used for those involved in the conflict, as well as their dependants.

People have phoned "in their hundreds" to show their support, fund spokesman Ian Townsend said at the Ministry of Defence's Royal Hospital, Chelsea, central London.

I think a lot of people want to say thank you
Penelope Keith

He added: "During the Falklands campaign and the previous Gulf War we saw a similar demand from members of the general public for a charitable fund that could simply and efficiently allow them to show their support."

Ms Keith, best known for her roles in To The Manor Born and The Good Life, said: "I think a lot of people want to say thank you and show some respect and recognition to servicemen and women in the Gulf.

"It's good that the services have now got together so the public knows where to go to show their appreciation."

Online donations

The fund, set up with help from the MoD, was created by the King George's Fund for Sailors, the Army Benevolent Fund and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

Organisers said it had not been set up to compensate those injured in Iraq as schemes for this were already in place.

Penelope Keith
Ms Keith is impressed by troops' professionalism
Instead, it will be used to address other types of need in the aftermath of the conflict, which has so far claimed the lives of 30 British servicemen.

Donations can be made online at the fund's web site or by calling 0800 107 0200.

Alternatively postal donations can be sent to UK Forces Gulf Fund, Freepost TN2257, West Malling, Kent ME19 4TA.


SEE ALSO:
Relief aid drive for Iraq
25 Mar 03  |  Wales
Fundraising for soldiers
16 Apr 03  |  Staffordshire
Fund to aid UK casualties
28 Mar 03  |  UK


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