FREE range turkey from a Northumberland farm will be feeding injured servicemen and women this Christmas. Blagdon Farm Shop has joined the NFU-organised Turkey for Troops initiative, which is working with Connect Packaging and the Ministry of Defence to collect donations of free range birds sent to soldiers past and present.
More than 100 birds will be delivered to seven locations around the country including the Personnel Recovery Unit at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.
Donated turkeys will also be heading to Headley Court in Surrey, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, the Royal Star and Garter in Richmond, the Royal Hospital in Chelsea as well as units in Colchester and Edinburgh.
More than 600 free range Bronze and traditional White turkeys are reared at Blagdon each year and sold through the farm shop.
Shop manager Jo Celerier said: “With family links to the Armed Forces, I was only too delighted to help provide a special Christmas Day feast for injured servicemen and women receiving help at Catterick Garrison. Our birds are reared with all the care we can give them so it’s fitting that they should form the centrepiece of a festive celebration so thoroughly deserved by so many.”
Lt Col Mel Pears, Commanding Officer of the 15x (NE) Personnel Recovery Unit in Catterick, said: “I would like to, on behalf of every soldier under my command, say thank you to the NFU. The wounded, injured and sick of the 15x (NE) PRU are very pleased with this practical demonstration of support, a gift of turkeys this Christmas.
“It will provide happiness and comfort to each family during what will be a reflective and emotional time. I would like to add my personal thanks to those involved with providing this gift – knowing that people are thinking of our injured troops at this time makes a real difference.”
NFU regional director Barney Kay said: “We are extremely grateful for the generosity shown by our local turkey producers, who themselves have had a difficult time of it this year. They epitomise the spirit of our Farming Delivers for Christmas campaign which aims to celebrate the quality and diversity of British produce at the heart of our festive celebrations.
“The Turkeys for Troops appeal is the jewel in the crown of this wider campaign and I’m delighted that our small local producers have been inspired to get involved. I’m sure their birds will be thoroughly enjoyed by the injured soldiers receiving them.”
The NFU is also encouraging shoppers to buy local, free range birds this Christmas, which can be found via the ukturkeys.co.uk website that lists more than 300 producers.