Christmas Box Campaign for armed forces launched
St John’s Wood Barracks, home of the famous King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, was the setting for the launch of the uk4u Thanks! 2010 Christmas Box campaign today. Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force personnel were joined by television personality and former Royal Navy Midshipman Ben Fogle to launch the campaign in truly festive style. The campaign sees some 22,500 boxes full of festive cheer sent to Service men and women right across the world who are working away from their families this Christmas.
A seven foot Christmas tree was decorated with the boxes – affectionately known as "square stockings" by the Armed Forces – outside the Officer’s Mess, with a member of King’s Troop, riding a horse placing a final box on top of the tree. Surrounding the tree wishing our Servicemen and women a Happy Christmas were Father Christmas, Ben Fogle, and other members of the Armed Forces who have received a Christmas Box while serving on operations on Christmas Day.
uk4u Thanks! works with the Armed Forces to send the boxes, containing some 20 items, out to locations such as Afghanistan, the Falklands, and ships and submarines across the world in time for Christmas Day. They do not use the British Forces Post Office system, so do not delay parcels from families and friends getting through.
Defence Minister Andrew Robathan said:
"The MOD is an enthusiastic supporter of the Christmas Box campaign, bringing cheer to those members of the Armed Forces serving abroad on operations over the festive period. Knowing that the public are behind them when they are working in often very difficult conditions, especially at this time, is a real morale boost for our Servicemen and women."
Sergeant Ian Breeze Royal Marines attended the event. He said:
"I have received a uk4u Christmas Box in the past, and found the items very useful and a real morale boost. Things like torches always come in handy, as do the little collapsible cups – you never know when someone’s going to offer you a hot drink!"
Sally Little, uk4u Thanks! trustee said:
"uk4u Thanks! is very grateful for everyone’s support and donations in helping us to give our Armed Forces a Happy Christmas. Sending out so many boxes is quite an undertaking, but when we receive messages of thanks from our Servicemen and women each year, we know it is well worth it."
Along with donations from the public, the charity is supported by a number of defence companies including BAE Systems, Finmeccanica, the Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown and Marks and Spencer. People wishing to donate to the Christmas Box campaign can do so at www.uk4u.org or by sending a cheque payable to "uk4u Thanks!" to uk4u Thanks!, The Old Granary, East Street, West Chiltington, West Sussex RH20 2JY.