Charity launches troops Christmas box campaign
A Lance Corporal from Stoke-on-Trent said he was "chuffed" to receive Christmas presents while serving in southern Afghanistan last year as a campaign to send festive gifts to overseas troops was launched.
More than 22,500 members of the armed forces will get a surprise this Christmas thanks to the annual Christmas box campaign, run by charity uk4u.
The campaign sees "square stockings" sent to every member of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy who is serving abroad or is in hospital during the festive period.
Wednesday's launch, at St John's Wood Barracks in north London, home of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, saw the final box placed on top of a Christmas tree, representing the official start of this year's campaign.
Gunner Kuziva Dapira, of King's Troop, rode on horseback to put the silver box in place, watched by Father Christmas and a host of servicemen and women who have received boxes in previous years.
Lance Corporal Steven Turner, 28, from Stoke-on-Trent, was given a charity box last Christmas when he was serving in the Grenadier Guards in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.
He said he and his friends were "chuffed" with their Christmas Day surprise. "We were all in the patrol base and they told us that the mail was coming," he said. "All the lads were excited because it was Christmas Day anyway, and then all of a sudden they brought out a load of these boxes.
"We were all very happy, chuffed to bits with them. We're grown men, so we tried not to get too excited but it was a great morale booster.
"We'd been in that patrol base for months and all the stuff in the boxes was great. There were some juggling balls and we loved the teabags - it was cold out there and they kept us warm."
The Christmas box appeal, launched in 2004, was inspired by an idea for 'gifts from the nation' for the Armed Forces, thought up in 1914 by Princess Mary, the 17-year-old daughter of King George V. The uk4u campaign, whose patron is the Duke of Westminster, is based entirely on donations and sponsorship during the festive season.
Original Article: http://www.bearsdenherald.co.uk/news/charity_launches_troops_christmas_box_campaign_1_394028
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