STAFF at a Darlington insurance firm are appealing for help to send more than 200 parcels to servicemen and women in Iraq.

Workers at Axa Insurance, in the town centre, want to send packages filled with toiletries and sweets to the 250 soldiers from regiments based at Catterick Garrison and RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire.

Staff were spurred into action after hearing that the husbands of colleagues Julie Wakeham and Tammi Beardsall were fighting in the Gulf.

The firm has discovered that it will cost nearly £2,000 to post the parcels, so they are busy organising a series of dress-down days at work in an attempt to raise the money.

They are hoping that local businesses will help them by donating items to go inside the parcels.

Debbie Elgie, of Axa, said: "We wanted to help out because of the two ladies who have husbands in Iraq.

"The RAF and the Army have agreed to give me names of every soldier and which regiment they are with.

"We wanted to see if there were any local companies that would like to contribute things to go inside the parcels.

"Soldiers are asking for things such as toiletries. These are what they are most in need of. They have also been asking for things such as wine gums and biscuits."

The firm is hoping to send the parcels at the end this month. Anyone who can help is asked to contact Ms Elgie on (01325) 385370 ext 8451.