Locally produced free range turkey will be on the menu this Christmas for injured servicemen and women thanks to generous donations from producers up and down the country, including Kelly Turkeys at Danbury in Essex.

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The turkeys are being donated to the Personnel Recovery Unit at Colchester as part of a national ‘Turkeys for Troops’ initiative launched via the National Farmers’ Union (NFU)’s UK Turkeys website.

With the help of the Ministry of Defence and Connect Packaging, the aim is to present soldiers, past and present, with a delicious farm-reared bird for the centrepiece of their Christmas feast. More than 100 birds are being delivered to seven locations around the country.

Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkey Farms, said: “The gift of a Christmas lunch seems rather insignificant compared to the level of commitment and bravery shown by our troops all over the world.

“We are quite simply, more than delighted to be involved with supporting soldiers and their families by supplying the centre piece of the Christmas day feast.”

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.

“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 Pamela Forbes said: “The Turkeys for Troops initiative is just one way that farming is delivering this Christmas.

“We are really grateful for the generosity shown by those turkey producers who have donated towards this campaign and I’m sure the turkeys will be thoroughly enjoyed by the injured soldiers receiving them.”

The initiative is also being supported by Connect Packaging. Managing director Robert Davidson said: “Connect Packaging has provided high quality packaging for UK turkey producers for many years and we are delighted to support the turkey industry’s Turkeys for Troops initiative.

“We are proud to be part of this campaign that will deliver the best British farm fresh turkeys to our wonderful soldiers.”

Shoppers who want to find a turkey reared near to them can logon to www.ukturkeys.co.uk, where they can search using their postcode and browse from more than 300 producers.

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