Breakfast club launched for Ripon's armed forces and veterans

The breakfast club will offer vital support for Ripon's armed forces.
Picture: The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy takes the salute at Ripon's Freedom Parade. Picture: Adam Newsome.
The breakfast club will offer vital support for Ripon's armed forces. Picture: The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy takes the salute at Ripon's Freedom Parade. Picture: Adam Newsome.
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A new group is launching to offer comradery and vital support to Ripon's armed forces, veterans and families.

Starting on July 29, The Ripon Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club will meet at The Lamb and Flag on High Skellgate once a fortnight on Saturdays at 10am.

Mick Thompson, 38, said the breakfast club will bring old friends together and help to make new ones.

Mick Thompson, 38, said the breakfast club will bring old friends together and help to make new ones.

Mick Thompson, 38, who served in the Royal Engineers for 10 years and was posted to Ripon, said something as simple as bringing the city's forces together to meet and talk around the breakfast table could make a life-changing difference to veterans and servicemen living with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Thompson said: "Ex-soldiers miss the social side of things, the comradeship and the lads they serve with - the social side of it.

"Since I left the Royal Engineers in 2004, I have been to various reunions, and it gives you a big lift. But then afterwards you get the blues and you feel down again.

"I think a major thing for people suffering with PTSD, is remembering that the best thing for veterans is veterans. You can go and see counsellors and get help, but I think veterans dealing with veterans gives people such a lift."

Ripon is the latest to join the growing Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club network, with groups springing up across the country, and the world.

Mr Thompson was inspired to inquire about setting up a club in the city when he attended a Sapperfest reunion for the Royal Engineers, and saw firsthand the comradery between members of existing groups from across the country.

He said: "I believe this is very needed in Ripon. Ripon seems to be one of those places where people can be posted anywhere, like Germany or somewhere else, and they come back and stay there.

"There are a lot of people in the city who are ex-forces who live near each other but don't talk or meet each other. This breakfast club is going to bring friends together, people who haven't seen each other for years.

"For veterans who have been widowed and don't have families, this is giving them a family back. This is a major thing that people can have, and it's theirs, something to look forward to

"As a garrison city with our army camp and strong links to the armed forces, it only seems right that Ripon has a breakfast club. Families, people serving now, and veterans, are all welcome.

"People should come along because the banter and humour soldiers have with other soldiers is unparalleled."

To find out more about the Ripon Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club, including updates on meeting dates: join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/715136902020151