30/11/2006

UK forces to receive festive 'thank you'

Members of the UK armed forces deployed overseas during the Christmas period are to receive Christmas boxes of gifts, Under Secretary of State Derek Twigg has announced.

Dubbed 'the square stocking', the last of the 25,000 boxes are leaving for RAF Brize Norton and the final leg if their journey to service personnel in British bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans as a way of saying thank you for their commitment and hard work.

Mr Twigg said: "Christmas is never an easy time of year to be away from home and loved ones and we want to make it as festive as possible for our personnel deployed overseas. The Christmas Boxes are an excellent way of showing our appreciation and thanks for the important and often dangerous job they are doing on our behalf."

The 'square stockings' are filled with a variety of items and pay homage to the 1914 gesture from the 17-year-old Princess Mary, who introduced the idea of presenting a 'gift from the nation' to uniformed personnel serving overseas on Christmas Day.

The boxes are organised by charity UK4UThanks! and are sponsored by a number of companies included BAE Systems, Kellogg Brown and Root (Halliburton), Fujitsu, Sodexho, Purple Foodservice Solutions and Thistle Garments.

(KMcA)

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