A new book is being launched at Liverpool’s Alamein Barracks on May 29th – “Joining Forces” is a compilation of stories and poems volunteered by people all over the UK. It will raise funds for Operation Shoebox, the charity which sends gift boxes to servicemen and women serving overseas and in Afghanistan.

“It’s a worthy cause that certainly deserves our support,” said Peter Quinn, managing director of United Press which is publishing the book.

Teaming up with Operation Shoebox, the publishers ran a competition to find material for the book, which will be on sale in August 2013 for £7.99 – visit or for further details. They have each won £100 in shopping vouchers for the winners of the 3 categories – under 12s, under 18s and over 18s.

Ian Whiteway, Founder of Operation Shoebox UK, said “it always warms my heart to see the generosity of the British public in supporting our UK troops abroad in active service. We will benefit from every book sold which means more shoeboxes to send to our troops.”

“Operation Shoebox UK would like to thank Peter Quinn, Claire Watson and the staff at United Press for all their hard work in making this idea reality, without their help and expertise we wouldn’t have known where to begin. They have been instrumental in both running the competition and bringing these great poems and short stories to print this book, which we hope will go some way to providing much needed funds for Operation Shoebox UK . If you would like to pre-order copies of this book please go to our website –

“We’ve received hundreds of entries from people of all ages who’ve written poems and short stories about both military and non military subjects. There were some very touching pieces of work and it’s a pity we can’t include them all. The book has contributions by over 100 people, Joining Forces will be enjoyed by all ages” said Claire Watson, editor of the book.

“Our aim is to encourage people be creative and to ‘give it a go’ – almost all our competitions are free to enter so there’s nothing to lose, our new competition is already open for entries” said Claire. To enter send up to three poems (on any subject) up to 25 lines (including blank lines) and 160 words each, by June 30th 2013 to NPA Free Competition at United Press Ltd, Admail 3735, London, EC1B 1JB or or e-mail your work to or ring 0844 800 9177. To see competitions for younger poets

The winners in the three categories were presented with their awards at Alamein Barracks.

The 3 category winners are:

Emily Lewis from Cwmdare in Wales aged (Under 12’s category) – FRIENDSHIP

Liam Reynolds from Liverpool in Merseyside (Under 18’s category) – A SHOEBOX AND A SMILE

Mrs Adele Roberts from Trebanos in Wales (Over 18’s category) – WHAT DOES A SOLDIER DO?

You can read the three winning poems below


We walk together, through the sand,

Near forever, hand in hand,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Through dark and stormy weather,

I know that you are here,

When sadness folds around me,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different,

Our friendship is true.

From walks in the park,

To talks in the dark,

When I feel blue, I can rely on you,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Whether a day at the pool, or a day at the school,

We will never cease,

We give each other peace,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Together we tread, four footsteps we leave,

Around these four footsteps, our story we weave,

I am I, you are you,

Though we are different, our friendship is true.

Emily Lewis, Age 10 yrs, Aberdare, Wales


‘Twas the week before Christmas,

No snow, just sand.

Fighting in this foreign land.

Christmas seems so far away,

It’s just an ordinary soldier’s day.

No Christmas tree, no Christmas cake,

Still putting their lives at stake.

Do you have a spare shoebox?

Or maybe some unwanted gifts?

Send it to our troops, giving them a festive lift.

Toothpaste, some jellies or even new socks,

Just sort them out neatly and seal the box.

Another shoebox, for a soldier awaits,

To open on Christmas and enjoy with their mates.

Christmas in Afghan will never be pleasant,

But come on, join in, donate them a present.

It doesn’t take long but it’s sure to bring smiles,

For those not returning home for a short while.

Santa might not visit Afghanistan,

But there’s no reason we can’t give them a festive feel,

Help us to cheer up our soldiers, by supporting the shoebox appeal.

Liam Reynolds, Age 16 yrs, Liverpool, Merseyside


A small child once asked me

Miss, what does a soldier do?

My reply was quite a simple one,

They protect our country, me and you.

The question had me thinking,

Had I answered it correct?

I went home that evening

And researched it more, in depth.

On my return the following day,

I quietly took the child aside.

I said, I have more information

About soldiers far and wide.

As well as protecting our country

And fighting for you and me,

Their job is that of courage,

Of strength, honour and loyalty.

The child just stared, looked at me,

With eyes that opened wide.

She edged her way towards me,

Eager to learn, sat by my side.

I talked of soldiers both far and near,

Avoiding wounds, trauma, blood or war,

For this small child was innocent

And she was the tender age of four.

There are troopers, medics and snipers,

They all fight for right and wrong.

Commandos, marines and engineers,

They are courageous, brave and strong.

A soldier can also be a father,

A mother, a daughter, someone’s son.

They all represent our country,

We should thank each and every one.

The child looked at me once again,

Stood up, smiled and turned to say

Miss, I really enjoyed that story,

I would like to be a soldier, some day.

Adele Roberts, Swansea, Wales

Posted in News