How a mother's 'buns of mass production' have cheered up 260,000 troops over 20 years

Watch: The military mum who took to baking to support her Royal Marine sons.

When the mother of a young Royal Marine – who, in January 2003, was in Kuwait preparing for the invasion of Iraq – decided to bake a fruit cake and send it to him, she couldn't have imagined that 20 years later, she would have sent more than 260,000 cakes to thousands of other troops deployed overseas. 

Two decades later, Louise Bennet is still baking what she calls 'Buns of Mass Production' even though her sons have left the Armed Forces, because she can't bear the thought of serving personnel not getting care packages. 

She said: "[My son] said, 'it's really sad, some of my guys get nothing, they're not supported'. 

"So, I literally cried all day because I was so stressed out and I thought, 'right, well I'll see if I can help so that everybody gets something every week'." 

Speaking with Natasha Reneaux, a BFBS the Forces Station broadcaster, the mother of three said it was only a matter of months after her eldest son George, 23, had passed out of Commando Training Centre Royal Marines at Lympstone, Devon, that Juliet Company, 42 Commando, with whom he served, found themselves in Iraq. 

It was an anxious time for Louise as she felt dreadful not being able to be there in person to look after him. 

Louise Bennet's Buns Of Mass Production CREDIT Louise Bennet
Louise Bennet's 'buns of mass production' (Picture: Louise Bennet).

So, she decided to take action to distract herself from the stress she felt and to feel as though she was doing something positive. 

She said: "Whatever age your child, you don't expect awful things to happen to them and it's dreadful when you can't help them out and get to them. 

"I would bake for a day a week. I'm sure there were many tears that went into the first mix, along with the milk and the butter." 

A framed image of some recipients of the buns of mass production CREDIT Louise Bennet
A framed image of some recipients of the 'buns of mass production' (Picture: Louise Bennet).

Louise says it didn't take long for her to understand just how important her 'buns of mass production' were for those who received them. 

Three months after her first military bake, Louise received a letter of appreciation that reassured her what she was doing was important. 

She said: "My son's sergeant wrote saying 'no food had got through to us that day. We had no rations, nothing'. 

"And I don't know why, he didn't say, but he said, 'the one thing that got through was the buns, the cakes'. 

"He said 'we were actually able to all eat those cakes and at least to have had something for the night... before we slept'. 

"And I thought, 'yes well, if nothing else, at least that one thing has helped'." 

Louise proudly holding her Help For Heroes medal CREDIT Louise Bennet
Louise proudly holding her Help For Heroes medal (Picture: Louise Bennet).

When she had reached the milestone of 100,000 cakes baked, the baking enthusiast was awarded a medal from military charity Help For Heroes for "outstanding support to the wounded and the military through buns of mass production". 

Louise began a tradition of sending a box of her buns of mass production to radio broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan under the pseudonym 'LoubbyLou'.

Louise Bennet with the late Sir Terry Wogan CREDIT Louise Bennet
Louise Bennet with the late Sir Terry Wogan (Picture: Louise Bennet).

She would ask the late on-air legend to give a shout out for "whoever was on the ground" at the time, which he regularly did. 

She said: "[He was] such a good support to the guys and their families in times of huge stress." 

She also managed to grab a photo of former Prime Minster David Cameron holding one of her cakes. 

Former Prime Minister David Cameron holding one of Louise Bennet's buns of mass production CREDIT Louise Bennet
Former Prime Minister David Cameron holding one of Louise Bennet's buns of mass production (Picture: Louise Bennet).

Louise has kept a record of all her bakes, making about three to four hundred fairy cake-sized bakes every week. 

She estimates that, by now, she has made 260,000 buns of mass production. 


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