The Armed Forces are urging the British public to keep the postal system clear for families' mail at Christmas.
Members of the public are being asked to show their support through Service charities at Christmas rather than overloading the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) with unsolicited mail to Afghanistan.
It is now 100 days until Christmas, and in the run-up to the festive season the BFPO receives a high volume of gifts and parcels to be sent on to personnel on operations – primarily Afghanistan, but also all around the world, including Royal Navy ships.
Head of BFPO, Colonel Stephen Heron, said:
Every year we see first-hand the generosity of the British public and though the sentiment is to be welcomed it can cause problems in delivering the mail that matters most – that from servicemen and servicewomen’s families. Getting this post through to them is our absolute priority, particularly at this time of year.
It is far better for people who want to show their support for our Armed Forces to donate to recognised Service charities who can use their experience to focus their efforts directly on what will be of most benefit to deployed Service personnel.
The public are also asked to bear in mind this year that, with the ongoing redeployment of UK personnel and equipment as security responsibilities are increasingly handed over to the Afghan forces, there will be significantly fewer UK troops in Afghanistan this Christmas compared to previous years.
The Armed Forces are asking the public once again to show their support by making donations to approved charities such as the uk4u Thanks! Christmas Box appeal, which works with BFPO to make use of any spare space in the existing supply chain.
The uk4u Thanks! Christmas Box appeal has sent festive boxes to personnel for 7 years and ensures a present ‘on behalf of the nation’ is sent at Christmas to every serviceman and woman working overseas. People can donate to this and other charities now to show their support and appreciation, and are encouraged to do so rather than sending their own gifts by post.
Director and Trustee of uk4u Thanks! Sally Little said:
Christmas is a difficult time for servicemen and servicewomen who are serving away from their families on operations. uk4u sends them all a Christmas Box filled with Christmas gifts which are useful and fun items.
This year over 18,000 boxes will be sent all over the world, using spare space in military transport, therefore we do not put additional strain on BFPO at Christmas.
How you can say thanks
There are many other ways in which people in the UK can thank forces deployed overseas for their work and commitment.
Helpful advice and a list of recommended Service charities which accept public donations to assist deployed personnel and their families back at home can be found HERE.