Charity launches troops Christmas box campaign

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 Operation Christmas Box.

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

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

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 Operation Christmas Box campaign, whose patron is the Duke of Westminster, is
based entirely on donations and sponsorship during the festive season.

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