Ministry of Defence
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Ross Kemp supports Christmas Box Campaign for Armed Forces

Ross Kemp supports Christmas Box Campaign for Armed Forces

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE News Release (267/2008) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 3 December 2008

Actor and presenter Ross Kemp added his support to the charity uk4u Thanks! Christmas Box campaign today, arriving at the launch at HMS President on the river Thames in a military boat. The charity is sending 24,500 boxes full of presents to all Armed Forces personnel serving abroad over Christmas.

Ross met with Service personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force who were serving over Christmas last year, and some who have recently returned from operations.

The launch was attended by Defence Minister Kevan Jones, who said:

"The Christmas Box campaign is a fantastic way for the nation to show their thanks and appreciation of the Armed Forces. The charity uk4u Thanks! ensures personnel serving abroad on operations from the Royal Navy, the Army and the RAF all receive a box, and the MOD is pleased to support them in their work."

Speaking at the launch Ross Kemp said:

"My time spent in Afghanistan has given me a great insight into what life is like for the men and women of our Armed Forces. I know how much it will mean to them to receive these boxes, and the message of support and thanks from the public that comes with them."

Signaller Matthew Kenworthy, who served in Afghanistan over Christmas last year said about receiving a box from the charity:

"It was a great surprise. A million miles from home but still people are thinking about us; especially at this time of year when we are missing family and friends so much."

Notes to editors:

1. 24,500 boxes, or 'square stockings' as they are affectionately known in the Services, will be opened by personnel serving across the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also those in hospital, this year.

2. Following on from the 1914 gesture from the 17 year-old Princess Mary, who had the idea of presenting a gift from the nation for everyone wearing the King's uniform and serving overseas on Christmas Day, forces charity uk4u Thanks! raises money and sponsorship throughout the year to provide these boxes as a way of saying thank you to our Armed Forces and to let them know that people are thinking of them over Christmas.

3. They boxes are funded by a number of companies, groups and individuals, including BAE Systems and Finmeccanica. The full list of sponsors is available at http://www.uk4u.org/Sponsors.aspx, and members of the public can add their support to the campaign by donating money towards the boxes at http://www.uk4u.org/

4. The content of this year's boxes is being kept strictly secret until troops open then on Christmas Day, however they are filled with a variety of items of everyday use, some Christmassy, some amusing, some useful, some educational, and some just plain fun, and are being distributed through existing MOD supply chains.

5. Ross Kemp arrived in a military boat provided by 1 Royal School of Military Engineering, Royal Engineers, based in Chatham, Kent.

6. Also at the launch was uk4u Thanks! trustee Allan Sims, dressed as Father Christmas.

7. The boxes, which are the same size as a 24-hours ration pack, are distributed using spare capacity in the existing MOD supply chain ensuring no extra cost or logistical strain is placed on the chain.

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