Veterans invited for tea and toast with Garrison Sergeant Major

Veterans from Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington Ex-Forces Support group were invited for tea and toast by the Catterick Garrison Sergeant Major.

WO1 Leon Reeves invited the group to join him in the Sergeant’s Mess at Gaza Barracks, Catterick Garrison.

They were also treated to a demonstration of battlefield medicine by members of the 5th Armoured Medical Regiment and were shown around a variety of the latest vehicles used for transporting patients on the modern battlefield.

The veterans were impressed with the abilities of the latest kit available to the modern soldier compared to the equipment that they were issued when they served.

The Ex-Forces project is a Community First Yorkshire initiative delivered by Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington.

It seeks to connects older veterans with someone who can give them a call and ensure that they don’t become lonely and have the support they need in everyday life.

Led by Veteran Support Officer, Andy Bradley, the service is available to anyone who has served in any branch of the Armed Forces or been called up for National Service aged over 65.

As part of the project, there is also a weekly veteran’s café where retired service personnel can meet for mutual support and friendship.

The café takes place in Age UK NYD’s Northallerton centre in the town’s Zetland Street every Wednesday morning between 10am and 12pm.

GSM Leon Reeves said: “I first came into contact with the Ex-Forces group through a friend of my wife and when I found out about the work that they do with veterans I was really keen to get involved.

“I visited their café and joined them for tea and cake and I really wanted to return the favour and have them join us in the Sergeants mess for tea and toast. It’s been a really good morning and the serving soldiers have also enjoyed meeting the veterans.”

GSM Reeves added: “It has been really good to forge links with Ex-Forces Support and we hope that we can keep the bond going as there are hundreds of thousands of people who are serving, or who have served who can benefit from a project like this and we need to do our best to support them.

“From all that I have seen, this is a fantastic project and we’re really keen to help keep it going.”

Simon Davidson, CEO of Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington said: “The Ex-Forces Telephone Befriending Service is a vital tool to prevent loneliness among older veterans in North Yorkshire.

“Even if you don’t think you’re lonely and you’re an older veteran you may still benefit from the advice, friendship and companionship that the service provides.”

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