What can be more quintessentially British than helping in the war effort..... by making buns to keep troops' morale up?

And if British soldiers in Afghanistan are enjoying their fruit cakes, they have a mum to thank.

Louise Bennett, who lives near Glasgow in Scotland, has a son in the Royal Marines.

At first, she sent her homemade fruit cake to the frontline, but eventually she was baking fruit buns and sending them in batches (for the lads to share).

She has baked up to 200 a week and sending them for the lads to share amongst themselves.

She has just sent her 9,300th bun to British soldiers overseas.

Weapons of mass confection: Marine's mum sends thousands of buns to British troops in Afghanistan

By Beth Hale
22nd February 2009
Daily Mail

With her son George putting his life on the line in Iraq, Louise Bennet remembered the line about an army marching on its stomach.

The next day she started baking - and sending the results of her labour out to the front line.

One fruit cake became a batch of fruit buns (better for sharing) and soon she was making up to 200 each week.

9,300 and counting: Mrs Bennet on her home production line

Six years later, 29-year-old George is back in the UK but his mum is still baking, and has just dispatched her 9,300th bun overseas.

Most recently they have been winging their way out to a padre at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. He had asked for donations of paperbacks to help in setting up a library, and received a package of buns to sweeten the delivery.

Mrs Bennet, 49, who lives near Glasgow with her surgeon husband George, said her remarkable bakeathon began in the build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which involved 45,000 British troops.

George junior, a captain in the Royal Marines, had joined up in 2002 after graduating from university.

'When he went to Iraq it became apparent that some people received less post than others and the buns were something they could all share, so the buns of mass production were born.'

There was a good reason why Mrs Bennet, an enthusiastic volunteer for charity, chose fruit buns.

As well as lining the stomachs of hungry troops, the buns have a certain resilience that makes them perfect for international travel - withstanding the heat and the cold and arriving in one piece.

Typically Mrs Bennet bakes a batch once a week. Overnight she soaks mixed fruit in orange juice or cold tea, then in the morning combines it with flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, a pinch of salt and some spice in a giant bowl.

Then she distributes the mixture into muffin cases and bakes the buns for 17 minutes in batches of 24.

British soldiers in Afghanistan have been enjoying Mrs Bennet's fruit cakes

Once cool, the buns go into plastic tubs, which she wraps in brown paper before labelling them 'BUNS OF MASS PRODUCTION!' and sending them via the Armed Forces Postal Service.

At first the special delivery went to Captain Bennet and 42 Commando Royal Marines. When he returned to the UK his mother took a break. She resumed baking when the men went to Afghanistan.

By this time she was baking for one of her son's fellow marines, a sergeant in a different squadron.

Buns went to Kabul, where they were enjoyed by members of the Afghan Army. They are still going out to troops in Helmand Province, the librarian padre who had appealed for books, and to a civilian worker who had already heard about the buns when he met Mrs Bennet at a party.

There is one other, more famous recipient of the buns - a certain Terry Wogan.

Mrs Bennet - using the name Looby Lou - sends them to him at Radio 2.

Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 23rd, 2009 at 01:02 PM..