Christmas Boxes 2005

Discussion in 'Charities and Welfare' started by MODBloke, Jan 11, 2006.

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  1. The UK4U Christmas boxes seem to have gone down well with all of you who were deployed over Christmas. I know that you have had the opportunity to comment on the contents when you entered the draw (to be held 23 Jan) but please use this opportunity to let me know what was good/bad, ideas for this year's boxes etc.

    The Charity welcomed your ideas for last year's box and tried to implement what it could so they do listen to your views. Planning has already started for Dec 2006 so it's useful to strike whilst the 'iron is hot'.

  2. The draw for the Christmas Box has now happened and I've cut and paste the article from the DII Intranet - nice to see that ARRSE gets a (covert) mention. The article is innacurate in that no members of the Navy won anything. I've sanitised the list of winners for OPSEC reasons:

    A number of soldiers, sailors and airmen will soon receive an extra post-Christmas gift, courtesy of the charity UK4UThanks!

    UK4UThanks! Trustee Sally Little and Brigadier David Martin draw winners from the Christmas Boxes prize draw at BFPO Mill Hill [Picture: POA (PHOT) Andy Gedge]
    Prizes have been awarded to winners of a special draw at British Forces Post Office Mill Hill. The lucky winners will all receive valuable items designed to cheer their spirits and keep them entertained while deployed away from home on operations. More than 19,000 Christmas Boxes, or 'square stockings', packed full of gifts were sent to Service personnel deployed overseas during the festive season. The boxes also included special prize draw entries in the form of a BFPO 'bluey'. The draw marked a final gesture of thanks to all Armed Forces personnel and civilians involved and paved the way for a similar initiative next Christmas.
    Drawing the winners on 23rd January, UK4UThanks! trustee Sally Little, said:

    "We have had some really good feedback from people out there. Some are on their second year of receiving their boxes and it has given them a real boost. I really hope that whoever receives these prizes will thoroughly enjoy them."

    Brigadier David Martin, Director of Logistics Commodities, added:

    "This has given a new direction to the Christmas Boxes project that has meant we can give out items that we couldn’t normally afford to. Despite the fact that soldiers, sailors and airmen get a generous Operational Welfare Package over Christmas, this allows us to give that little bit extra."

    Boxes were sent to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Falklands and other locations such as Ascension Island and Diego Garcia. All military and MOD civilian personnel involved had a chance of receiving a prize. The Defence Logistics Organisation transported the Boxes, which are the same dimensions as the standard operational Ration Pack, within the existing logistics supply chain using irreducible spare capacity.

    The Boxes, which were also delivered in 2004, recall the gesture of the 17-year-old Princess Mary, daughter of King George V and Queen Mary in 1914, when she introduced the idea that everyone wearing the King's uniform and serving overseas on Christmas Day should receive 'a gift from the nation'.

    Personnel currently serving on operations had this to say about their Boxes, on a recent Army Internet discussion thread:

    "I was dead chuffed with mine, as were most of us here in Basra. I was genuinely surprised and touched by MOD's/BAE's largesse. Dr. Reid's card was pretty witty too."

    "I thought the contents of the Box were smashing, and much better than last year. It actually had practical items in like a torch, lip balm and a hand warmer that can be re-used. Well done the MOD."

    The Armed Forces Christmas Box augmented the MOD's Operational Welfare Package (OWP). This goes to staff deployed on operations or exercises of two months duration or more. It includes free phone calls, postal services, Internet access and a range of other benefits. An extra 20 minutes of publicly funded phone calls and a free postal packet service are provided for those deployed over Christmas, as well as a number of additional food lines and other items of Christmas cheer.

    Prizes and winners are as follows:

    1st Prize, TomTom In-Car Navigation System:
    WO2 - Army, Iraq

    2nd Prize, Sony PSP Games Console and Games:
    Fl Offr - RAF, Iraq

    3rd, 4th, and 5th Prizes, Portable DVD Player:
    Cpl - Army Iraq
    Cpl - RAF, Iraq
    SSgt - Army, Iraq

    6th, 7th and 8th Prizes, iPod Shuffle:
    LCpl - Army,Iraq
    Sgt - Army, Balkans
    Capt - Army Iraq
  3. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer


    UK4Ugets a mention in this month's 'Soldier ' magazine...unprompted thank you from a Captain serving with 7th Armd....can't find it in the online version but I'll dig out the hard copy and reprint if I can find it.

    Well done !

    Le Chevre
  4. Thanks for this - I'll pass it on to the Charity. Comd 7 Armd Bde (no doubt wearing that very smart Guernsey) wrote a super letter of thanks to the Charity - it was very much appreciated. I was promised some photos of the troops opening their boxes for inclusion on the website but they haven't materialised.

    If anyone in ARRSELAND want to shove a picture or two my for inclusion on the UK4U website and other publicity material please feel free to send them to me.

    The Duke of Westminster has now agreed to become the Patron to UK4U Thanks! which should help in raising its profile for sponsorhip

    We are looking at including MDHUs, DGPs and mil hospitals in NI and Cyprus, to be distributed to any patients who are stuck in hospital over Christmas but the Charity will make the final decision.
  5. MODBloke

    Just a small query - if I may. I thought this generous gesture was entirely the preserve of a private initiative - the MOD / John Reid et al had little to do with this, let alone put their hands in their pockets for it. The gesture was much appreciated, but I got the distinct impression that several hangers on were jumping on this bandwagon and there was understandable confusion amongst the soldiery as to the identity of the benefactors.

    Or have I got that all wrong?
  6. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    ModBloke - pse check your Pms.
  7. Storeman, you make a good point.

    UK4U very generously donate the boxes (over 19,000 last year). The MOD including myself, media, front line commands, PJHQ and the DLO advise and assist at every stage of delivery (it is after all in all our interests to get it right).

    Sponsors which include some quite big hitters in the defence procurement world will want their pound of flesh (otherwise why sponsor). So they will be involved in publicity at the launch as will ministers (by doing so we ensure that the media will cover the story which, after all, is a good news one which will be read by recipients in theatre).

    The Duke of Westminster will be writing this year's message in the card as Patron to the Charity.

    So in summary: the box is a gift from the Nation via UK4U to say thank you for all the work done by HM Forces (and MOD Civil Servants) deployed on ops over Christmas. The MOD facilitates its delivery. The media coverage will involve all those who play a part (including politicians).
  8. VB

    Done - you should have received a reply. Many thanks.

  9. ViroBono raised the issue of those unlucky souls who find themselves in Ministry of Defence Hospital Units (MDHUs) over Christmas. The charity UK4U Thanks has agreed to include them in the distribution of the Christmas box this year.

    They have also agreed to include other nations personnel who are formally attached/uc UK formations - so HQ ARRC/ISAF and others who are within the Brit Brigade in Afghanistan will now receive the box.

    MB :D
  10. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Many thanks, MODBloke.