Clipstone rallies round support group for armed forces veterans
The founder of a group to help traumatised veterans of the armed forces has thanked the people of Clipstone for their support.
Elieen Massey, 63, who lives in the village, set up Veterans Unite after retiring from her job as a mental-health nurse.
And her first major event, a bric-a-brac sale held on Sunday to raise funds for the group, was a huge success.
Dozens of villagers backed the sale, which was held at Vicar Water Country Park, outside Rumbles cafe, and generated £191.
"It was really good, and everyone was happy with it,” said Eileen.
"I was lying awake at 3 am the night before, wondering if people would come. But it turned out to be absolutely fine.
"We are now hoping to make it a monthly event, possibly with stalls from charities too.”
Eileen is still waiting to hear if Veterans Unite can attain charitable status, so that it can apply for funds from bodies such as the National Lottery.
But local support is clearly thriving as Clipstone residents enjoyed attractions such as stalls, selling items from books to clothes and handbags, a raffle, a tombola and delicious cakes cooked by a neighbour.
Prizes were donated by businesses and included a fruit and veg hamper donated by one local councillor who has helped Eileen create the group, while another has provided financial support to enable her to kick-start Veterans Unite.
Eileen got the idea for the group because of her keen interest in the plight of men and women who have served their country in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
When they return to civilian routine, many face severe problems with their housing, family lives and finding a job. Some end up living on the streets.
Eileen said: “A lot of them struggle, and quite a few don’t get any support.
"I am hoping we can soon use the Eastfield Close retirement complex as a venue for regular meetings.
"It will allow the veterans to pop in and integrate with each other.
"Once we have gained their confidence, we can take it from there and arrange things such as days out.”