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Photo Gallery: Send your Smile Camp Bastion messages to Norfolk soldier

10:01 30 November 2012

Zoey Peace with her boyfriend Cpl Sam Garwood, from Long Stratton

Zoey Peace with her boyfriend Cpl Sam Garwood, from Long Stratton

Archant

Sometimes in life they say it’s best to say it with a smile – and that is exactly what Zoey Peace and a string of celebrities have done as they send morale-boosting messages to her Norfolk boyfriend while he serves his country thousands of miles away.

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The 26-year-old set up her online diary “Until February” to keep her boyfriend Cpl Sam Garwood’s spirits up while he was on tour in Afghanistan.

Her account of “me versus six months without you” charts her life without him as he serves on the frontline, detailing her attempts to become a domestic goddess, to lose a stone in weight, to master DIY and start doing yoga.

It has become an internet sensation with 16,000 hits in just one day.

As part of the blog, Miss Peace also started to post photographs of friends and family holding signs which simply read Smile Camp Bastion in a bid to lift morale among the troops.

Now, famous faces have started to post their own messages of support for Miss Peace’s boyfriend, who is from Long Stratton, and his comrades.

Stars who have backed the initiative include Sir Clive Woodward, astrologer Russell Grant and singer Chesney Hawkes plus the charity Help for Heroes.

Miss Peace, who lives in Doddington in Cambridgeshire, just south-west of Wisbech, said she wanted to support former Long Stratton High School pupil Cpl Garwood while he served with the Royal Logistics Corps on his fifth tour overseas.

She said the response had been “incredible”.

“The number of celebrities who have posted messages of support has doubled in a week, it’s been amazing,” said the events executive for the Royal Society of Chemistry in Cambridge.

The couple met on an online dating site and had been together for six months before Cpl Garwood was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this month.

The blog is entitled “Until February” as the Norwich City supporter was due to return home for rest and recuperation (R&R) in February but he will now be coming back in March.

His official homecoming, however, will be in May, by which time they will have been together for a year.

“We always knew that he was going to go on tour.

He loves his job and he loves going on tour and I knew it was something I was going to have to cope with,” said Miss Peace.

“I didn’t want him to think I was at home listening to James Blunt and wanted him to see that I was OK so I started the blog.

“It was a really easy way to keep his spirits up which I think it has done.”

Miss Peace plans to turn the “Smile Camp Bastion” photos into a video, set to a reworked version of Chesney Hawkes’ number one hit The One and Only, to be sent to the soldiers.

“Anyone can send messages in to show their support. I will try to get them all on the video but if I can’t, they will all go on the blog,” she said.

“I desperately want to get the Norwich City team to do one as Sam is a massive Norwich City fan.”

To send your message of support, post a photo of yourself holding a Smile Camp Bastion sign on to Twitter, using the hashtag #smilecampbastion.

kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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