Former servicemen came out in force at the weekend for the launch of a weekly gathering aimed at reviving a special combat camaraderie.
The Armed Forces Breakfast Club was launched at the Bold Forester pub in Mansfield on Saturday morning, with the aim of bringing veterans together to chat.
Organised by Councillor Sean McCallum, the Armed Forces champion for Mansfield District Council and an ex-soldier himself, it was a great start to the campaign with more than 20 former members of the Army, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy turning up.
Coun McCallum said: “It was great for a first event, I think we had representatives from all the services, including a 90-year-old who was a Normandy and Operation Market Garden veteran, which was fantastic.
“They spent a good few hours chatting and getting to know each other.
“We’ve had some really positive feedback and committed to coming again, male and female.”
Breakfast clubs are springing up across the country as part of a national campaign to bring veterans together and rekindle the camaraderie often forged between comrades.
Coun McCallum, who served in Iraq in 2003 , added: “Not every person who has served has problems but some do have resettlement issues when they leave the forces.
“Many spend years having everything done for them and when they come out they don’t know how to do anything, like putting together a CV.
“Some have problems returning to civilian life, and that can often come hand in hand with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I’m a veteran, I have a vested interest myself so I decided to open this breakfast club for both Mansfield and Ashfield.
“Both areas have historically supplied people for the forces and a lot of regiments have benefited.
“The idea is that ex and serving members can come along for a chat - it’s about fostering that spirit that they would have had while serving.
“We have World War II veterans who are now getting on and who may have only got out once in a month.
“We want to provide that regular opportunity for older individuals to get out, have a meal and feel part of something again.
“A lot of veterans find it difficult to speak with those who have not served, this is here for people to come and make friends and get that support that they would have in the forces, that’s important.”
The breakfast club meets every Saturday at the Bold Forester on Botany Avenue, starting at 10am. All servicemen or women, serving or former, are welcome.