'Everyone has had the same experience; it's just different wars': The Veterans Breakfast Club rebuilding lost friendships
PUBLISHED: 16:44 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 21 March 2019
Veterans have praised a monthly meeting club which allows them to socialise among their ‘brothers and sisters’ - as well as providing care for mental and physical injuries suffered during their service.
On the second Saturday of each month the Veterans Breakfast Club meets at Coast Bar and Restaurant, in Corton near Lowestoft.
The branch was set up by Duane Ashworth – who served in the Grenadier Guards between 1984 and 1996 and now runs the bar.
In 2012 Mr Ashworth’s son, James, himself a Grenadier Guard, was killed in Afghanistan as he led his fire team in an attack on an enemy base.
The 23-year-old earned a Victoria Cross for his gallantry - and the tragedy inspired his father to continue reaching out to fellow servicemen.
Mr Ashworth said: “It made us aware of PTSD and we know a lot of injured servicemen.
“PTSD can come at any time of life.
“The breakfast club is about getting like-minded people who have the same mindset together, to generally have a chat.
“We have had guys who have just come out of the army, having served in Afghanistan and Iraq, sharing their experiences, and then people from as far back as the Second World War.
“We all have something in common. Everyone has had the same experience; it’s just different wars.”
The group now boasts around 70 members, with an average of 40 veterans attending each meeting.
And Mr Ashworth said it has been extremely well received among the local veterans community.
It has also provided many with a chance to rekindle lost friendships.
Mick Fall and Steve Brooks had last seen each other in 1975 when serving in the same paratrooper regiment.
Mr Fall said: “We have just got a bit older but nothing else has changed.”
The group helps provide support for those suffering from mental or physical injuries – helping link specialist organisation which offer help.
Gary Matthews, who served in the Royal Corp of Transport for more than 20 years, added: “
“We all have a common language because we are all a band of brothers and sisters.
“There are a lot of veterans groups which offer support; this is another support network for the those who need it.”
For more information about Corton’s Veterans Breakfast Club call 01502 733922.