2009 Christmas box
Girl group and Armed Forces fans The Saturdays launched charity Operation Christmas Box 2009 Christmas Box campaign, at RAF Northolt on 1st December, alongside Defence Minister Kevan Jones and charity trustees.
This year's campaign saw some 23,000 boxes full of festive cheer sent to Service men and Servicewomen right across the world who were working away from their families and loved ones at Christmas.
Una, Mollie, Frankie, Vanessa and Rochelle arrived at RAF Northolt in a 4 tonne military wagon accompanied by members of the Queen's Colour Squadron, RAF Regiment, and, along with Father Christmas, delivered Christmas Boxes to sailors, soldiers and airmen.
The 2009 Christmas box contained:
- A Christmas Hat
- A travel kit including neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs
- A key ring torch
- A head torch
- Juggling balls
- A Frisbee
- A sewing kit (with military coloured thread!)
- A pocket mirror
- A flashing LED armband
- A multi-tool
- Tiger Tail balloons
- uk4u Thanks! playing cards
- A padlock
- A pack of assorted teabags
- A Christmas greetings DVD
- A uk4u Thanks! Christmas Card
- A Christmas Carol sheet
- A uk4u Thanks! questionnaire
Service personnel enjoyed their new improved box, which was assembled using the feedback from last year's receipients. Here are some of the messages we received from Service personnel:
I have just finished a fabulous Christmas dinner here in Lashkah Gar, Afghanistan and picked up my red box of goodies on my way out of the mess tent. I'd like to express my appreciation to all those people involved with putting these boxes together and their distribution. The contents are absolutely brilliant. They're useful too! I wasn't expecting that, in all honesty I wasn't sure what to expect, but I can say I and a great number of others here really do appreciate all the hard work that has clearly gone into getting these boxes filled and sent to us. Thank you very much indeed, they're a great idea and I hope you manage to keep up the good work next year.
Corporal Si Meerwald (RAF)
A quick note to thank you for the Christmas Gift Box. There's some great stuff in it, and Christmas Dinner, which I'm just off to go and serve to the lads and lasses, will be awash with screaming balloons and Santa hats! Thank you from all at 902 Expeditionary Air Wing.
Wing Commander Angus Deas
The boxes are fantastic. Some soldiers do not have the luxury of receiving gifts at this time of year: this makes everyone feel as though there is someone there looking over us. The goodies are a little something that help towards making the day a little brighter in the dark of what it is that we do. I cannot express gratitude on behalf of all the soldiers who receive a box such as the ones you have kindly put together for us all, but from the bottom of my heart I thank you. It is not easy being charitable to those who are not known to us personally. This makes the donations much the more important.
Captain James Greaves
I would just like to express my thanks and gratitude for the uk4u Christmas box which was sent out to the British troops this Christmas. We all appreciate the efforts made by everyone back at home who has supported this effort. The intelligent mix of products, from the fun to the practical, not only helped to make Christmas that bit more enjoyable but means that some elements of life can be made easier for the remainder of the tour.
It is comforting to know that people at home are thinking of the troops away from home, not just on Ops but all across the world and is a big moral boost.
Flight Lieutenant Andy Palik
Hi, I'm serving in Afghanistan at the moment and would just like to say thank you very, very much for the gift box. They are a great source of morale for everyone. The DVD was great as well as it is good to know that the folks back home are thinking of us over the festive season.
Warrant Officer2 Gills
We also received this special message from a member of the United States Marine Corps who was stationed with US Forces at Camp Bastion:
My name is Sergeant Zamora with the United States Marine Corps. My unit is stationed at Camp Bastion with the British Forces and we shared Christmas as well as the New Year with them. I must say that it is rare to meet such a kind and giving people. One in particular, Warrant Officer Nichols, showed me how to make one damn good cup of tea or "brew" as he called it. I am very fortunate to have met so many wonderful British Soldiers and have the upmost respect for them.
The purpose of this email is really to say thank you so much for the Christmas Boxes. Our unit eats in the same chow hall (1 of 2 in Bastion) that your soldiers eat in. As soon as we walked through the door for our Christmas dinner we were handed little red boxes with a smile and thanks. It was the only gift that I received for the holidays and being that I was not expecting to get anything, it immediately brought a sense of joy to my heart. I know that I am a Marine with the US but after watching the DVD in the box, I realized that you support all of us. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! It means so much to us to know that we are supported and it is so nice to know that we are remembered, especially during the Holidays.
uk4u Thanks! would like to express their sincere 'Thanks' to all of the sponsors and would like to remind you that the charity is always looking at new ideas for the Christmas Box, and to ensure the success and appreciation of this gift we still need sponsors and donations to cover the costs.
We rely on your generosity.
Help us to reach out to as many of our troops as possible.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years, here are a few.