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Fortnum and Mason launches Diamond Jubilee gift for Armed Forces

To mark the unique occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Fortnum and Mason is presenting all Armed Forces personnel on active…

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To mark the unique occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Fortnum and Mason is presenting all Armed Forces personnel on active service with the ‘United Services Tin’, containing tea and biscuits.

The gift is intended to ensure that each recipient in the Army, Navy and RAF will be able to join the rest of the nation in celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Weekend on 2-5 June 2012.

15,000 tins are already en route to servicemen and women across the world, so that they will arrive in good time for the Jubilee weekend.

Fortnum and Mason has worked closely with the MOD to create the smart ‘United Services Tin’. The tin, in white, and decorated with Fortnum’s signature eau de nil and the insignia of each Service, contains Fortnum’s Queen Anne tea and clotted cream digestive biscuits.

The inside of the lid is inscribed with the legend:

_“Since 1707, Fortnum and Mason has been honoured to serve loyal subjects of the Crown. This offering, to serving military personnel on active service, is a token of our esteem for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Her Armed Forces on the occasion of the Sovereign’s Diamond Jubilee.” _

A card, giving highlights of Fortnum’s historic links with the British Armed Forces, is also enclosed.

The tins were launched at an event in the department store, located on London’s Piccadilly, yesterday, attended by the Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall.

All three attended a tea party for 150 guests, including military personnel and Fortnum’s staff who were on duty 60 years ago when the Queen came to the throne.

The blend of tea chosen for the military to enjoy is the Queen Anne, which reflects the history of Fortnum and Mason. Queen Anne was on the throne when Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason went into business in 1707. Queen Anne tea is rich, bright and refreshing, and each tin contains 15 teabags, so that each recipient can brew up for themselves and their colleagues.

True to Fortnum’s usual exceptional standards, the biscuits are the very best version of a digestive. They might be described as a ‘super digestive’ in every sense - with full fat English butter and English clotted cream to give a rich, dense, crunchy biscuit that won’t melt or wilt (or drop in the mug once dunked), they are the perfect Service biscuit. Each tin contains six biscuits individually stamped with ‘F&M’.

A quantity of tins will be offered for sale in May 2012 at the store in Piccadilly, with a donation from each sale going to SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) Forces Help, a charity that supports serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and the families of both.

The Jubilee tins were packed by disabled employees at the home of the Enham Trust, a charity which was founded in 1918 under the patronage of King George V and Queen Mary to rehabilitate servicemen wounded in the First World War. The charity, which is based in the village of Enham Alamein in Hampshire, now supports around 4,500 disabled adults, helping them lead independent lives.

Fortnum and Mason supplied food delicacies to soldiers during the Crimean War, as part of The Times newspaper’s fundraising drive to give treats to the ‘Other Ranks’. The origin of sending tinned gifts to troops began with Queen Victoria, who sent chocolate at Christmas to the men fighting in South Africa. In 1914, her great-granddaughter, Princess Mary, headed a fund to send tins of chocolate and tobacco to men fighting on the Western Front. Ever since, the tradition of supplying a small taste of home to those fighting in far off lands has been part of the British way of life.

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Published 2 March 2012