A CELEBRATION was held for the first anniversary of the Lymington Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club.
Created to give current and former servicemen and women a social setting to meet with members of different armed forces branches, the club welcomes people transitioning from military to civilian life to give them a support network.
The biggest breakfast to date saw 65 people attend which included visits from young recruits. Its oldest member is a 94-year-old Second World War veteran.
Founder member Peter Stevenson said: “The club has grown beyond all of our expectations, with many members telling me how it has become a vital lifeline for them.
“We have forged close ties with our local Lymington Army and Air Cadets, with their adult instructors joining us for breakfast as well as, on several occasions, having the young cadets join us too.
“As we look forward to our second year, we will reach out even further to all veterans in the community, to ensure they are not forgotten as well as forging closer links with an already supportive town council and area representatives of military charities.”
Over the year the group has organised many events for members including a Christmas dinner as well as a trip to the rifle ranges.
Wendy Randall, landlady of The Kings Arms, said: “Hosting the veteran’s breakfast club has been a pleasure.
“We are a very popular community pub and over the year we hold many charity fundraising events, with many of the veterans now helping us with that and giving back to the community.”
A cake with the breakfast club logo was made specially by Army veteran Natasha Little, who is pictured cutting the cake at the celebratory breakfast.
To find out more go to www.afvbc.net/clubs/lymington.
The Poppy Factory
The celebration has coincided with a separate appeal this weekend by TV historian Dan Snow, who lives in Lepe, to help sick and injured veterans back to work.
He was due to present the BBC Radio 4 Appeal twice on Sunday August 18th and again on Thursday August 22nd to raise funds for veterans’ employment charity the Poppy Factory.
The appeal tells the story of a former soldier, Dale, who lost his leg when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan but was ultimately supported into a new job that he loves.
Mr Snow said: “We’ve asked these young men and women to go into harm’s way on behalf of our society, and we owe them everything when they get back.
“Please give whatever you can afford, and you will help a veteran take their first steps towards a successful civilian job.”
The Poppy Factory’s appeal page is www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007pw0 with donations to the charity accepted from Sunday August 18th.
For more information visit www.thepoppyfactory.org.