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Top Trumps - Fighting Units of the British Army

Remember Top Trumps? Well, they're back...only this time with a charitable twist. Dr David Nicholl

This week sees the launch of a Xmas stocking filler must have for kids - a Top Trumps card with a charitable heart, but the story behind it is equally intriguing as it was designed by my best friend Dr John Ross.

John and I go back a long way, we shared a house in Harborne when we were at University in scenes reminiscent of the "Young Ones". We were Best Men at each other's weddings and were only 'split' when John went to work as a GP for the Army in Germany.

John was always a bit of an adventurer, a cross between Dr David Livingstone and Charley Boorman with a passion for travel and motorbikes.

He decided to combine all these passions by planning a charity motorbike ride from Afghanistan via Uzbekistan to the UK to raise money for an Afghan charity- minor things like Taliban insurgents and the odd person being boiled alive in Uzbekistan wasn't going to put off this intrepid medic.

However to the relief of everyone else concerned (myself included), when his wife became pregnant, the Afghan trip was ditched. Clearly, he used this time wisely, as he noticed how much his growing son, and indeed every boy he saw loved playing 'Top Trumps', which got him thinking, "Why isn't there an Army set?".

He was keen to develop this into a fund-raising idea for the Afghan charity that he had planned to support with his bike trip and this was an altogether safer option to raise money for educational and health projects in Afghanistan.

John told me " I'd thought the whole project would only take 6 weeks but it took 18 months. Initially there was reluctance from regiments to take part, but when the penny dropped they were all fighting to make sure their regiment was in the card set. Soldiers are a pretty competitive lot!"

Swords into ploughshares? Perhaps, but maybe a set of Top Trump cards is as good a way as any to win hearts and minds, both over here and over there. The Sunday Times has more (see link here)

The Top Trumps cards, "Fighting Units of the British Army" can be ordered via the link here

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