05 Nov 2023

We are thrilled with the success of this year’s annual Early Early Christmas Fair, which took place on 26-27 September in Tidworth, Wiltshire. The event has raised over £40,000 towards our work supporting soldiers, veterans, and Army families. The event is one of the longest-standing charity fairs in the UK. This year, over 2,000 visitors attended over the two days, with around 120 independent traders offering unique presents, delicious food and drink ideas, different and original ideas to brighten your home, elevate your wardrobe, as well as gorgeous treats for yourself and others. Every sale included a 10% donation to ABF The Army Benevolent Fund. The atmosphere was filled with the warmth of the holiday season, as families and friends gathered to enjoy a day of shopping and festivities.


We were delighted that John Hiorns, the Director of Customer Liaison at General Dynamics Mission Systems (International), kindly opened the fair this year. Once again, General Dynamics UK proudly stands as the Gold Sponsor for The Early Early Christmas Fair.


Among the notable guests in attendance were Mrs. Sarah Rose Troughton, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire and President of ABF The Army Benevolent Fund Wiltshire, who kindly hosts the evening reception, and Mr. Pradeep Bhardwaj, High Sheriff of Wiltshire.


Mrs. Troughton reflected on the event's impact: "The Early Early Christmas Fair exemplifies the incredible synergy between local businesses, sponsors, and the Army community. It was a great pleasure attending the first evening of the Fair, and I came home carrying a new large woven basket full of incredibly nice Christmas presents. My sincere thanks to Caroline Cary and her team and to the many generous supporters and stallholders.”


Former Army officer Lt Col Crispin Black, historian Jeremy Archer, and cookery writer Torie True also attended to sign their books.


Caroline Cary, who organised the fair, said: "This year’s fair was all about community, and the British Army family is a nationwide one, which is why so many people travel far and wide each year to join in the fun. The event is also important for Wiltshire, where the Army presence is huge, so we always value the support we get year from local military communities. I would especially like to thank our long-standing sponsors, General Dynamics UK and Aspire Defence, for their continued support and to our new sponsors this year AeroGlow International, Warminster School, and Claire Calder Consultancy. A special thanks to our stallholders who work tirelessly to make this Fair one of the best in the country and who contribute 10% of everything you buy at the event to ABF The Army Benevolent Fund. Most importantly, I would like to thank all those amazing volunteers who every year go the extra mile to help raise money for this Charity.”

We are enormously grateful to everyone who helped make it such a success.

"The fair was not only beautifully organised but was run with professionalism and warmth. It was a real pleasure being part of it - the standard of stalls was as high as ever with all sorts of lovely merchandise. It was the best fair I have ever been part of." Lisa Butterworth

"The EECF is one of the best Christmas fairs in the calendar. It attracts a wonderful mix of loyal customers and new ones who love to shop and stop by to say hi. I can't think of a better way to kick off the fair season." Loved by Da