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Listen: How armed forces veterans in Preston are meeting for breakfast

Posted on - 5th March, 2016 - 2:23pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
From top left clockwise: Steve Hutchinson from the Veterans Council, Rob Wilson and Mayor of Preston cllr McManus, the veterans in the Bus Station cafe and a veteran tucks into his breakfast

From top left clockwise: Steve Hutchinson from the Veterans Council, Rob Wilson and Mayor of Preston cllr McManus, the veterans in the Bus Station cafe and a veteran tucks into his breakfast

They’ve served our country from Iraq to Northern Ireland, but it was at Preston Bus Station’s cafe these veterans found their latest posting.

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Around 25 veterans from the Preston area shared a breakfast with all the trimmings on Saturday morning.

Preston Veterans Breakfast has been launched to help those who served in our armed forces.

Rob Wilson, the man behind the initiative and part of the Dig In North West project in Ashton Park, said it was about giving a focal point twice a month for veterans.

He said: “We have a lot of people who come to events we do during the week but we thought there’s this gap at weekends. It’s great to see a turnout like this.”

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The breakfast was joined by Preston’s very own Chelsea pensioner Steve Allen.

He made the trip up from London to support the veterans breakfast.

Steve Allen now attends many civic events in his Chelsea pensioner attire

Steve Allen now attends many civic events in his Chelsea pensioner attire

The 73-year-old, who used to work at Fulwood barracks, said the events were important for giving veterans a chance to get to know others in the area.

Leaving the Army to become a ‘civvy’ as the veterans now refer to themselves can be a tough experience.

Paul Thomson, 35, had been in the signals unit for 18 years and is now working as a labourer in the Preston area.

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Paul Thomson, right, has now found work in the Preston area after leaving the armed forces

Paul Thomson, right, has now found work in the Preston area after leaving the armed forces

He said as you move around a lot it’s hard to ever establish a proper home and network of friends, which makes finding work hard.

Help for veterans, alongside events such as the breakfast, comes from many organisations in the city.

Steve Hutchinson from the Veterans Council said there was always more to be done to support veterans.

The next veterans breakfast is due to take place on Sunday 20 March, with the details to be posted on the Veterans Breakfast Club website.

Where can veterans find help in Preston?

The Armed Forces Group Preston is the first place to try. It acts as a one-stop shop for directing veterans to help with housing, employment, finance and a host of other things.

Veterans are also reminded the British Legion is there to join and holds many events in the city and surrounding area. All veterans can also claim their armed forces badge.

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Dig In North West works with veterans in the walled garden in Ashton Park, where former military personnel are working to bring the land back into use alongside a range of other projects.

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