Coffee morning regulars rally for commemoration ceremony

Armed Forces Coffee Morning (1)

Regulars at Blaby District Council’s veterans’ coffee mornings are crafting flags and poppies to display at the Armed Forces Day commemoration later this month.

The textiles will be an integral part of the authority’s annual ceremony which recognises the sacrifice and service of our military personnel. The ceremony will be especially poignant as June 2024 has marked the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

They will then form part of a special services-centred tableaux during Cosby Yarn Bomb, reflecting this year’s theme, Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together, inspired by the Olympics.

Mottos from various regiments will feature on poppy petals while symbols of the Red Arrows offer a metaphor for military unity.

Members of Gather, Create, Grow, the group behind Cosby Yarn Bomb, are leading the creative sessions at the Council’s Armed Forces coffee morning events.

Those happy to use their nimble fingers are busy crafting while those of a less artistic persuasion happily tackle other activities such as quizzes and word search.

The coffee mornings take place on the first Wednesday of each month at the Council offices and are open to all veterans and reservists and their families and carers. 

Funding comes from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust’s Force for Change programme.

Valerie Molloy, Jackie Hall and Pat Newman attend with their husbands who all served at some point in their lives and have enthusiastically taken to the crafting.

Valerie first came along with her husband Brian, a Royal Navy veteran, after hearing about the sessions at a military breakfast event. She says the coffee mornings are a great way to get Brian out socially, especially since he had a stroke which makes it more challenging for him to engage with others.

Jackie said: "I think it’s absolutely brilliant, there are different activities every time and it is so well organised. There are so many veterans here from all different areas of the forces, it’s lovely to see everyone mixing."

Husband, Ken, who completed his two years of National Service in Germany, added: "I’m always ready to come and always happy I’ve been. You get to a certain age and there are not so many things to do socially so this is a brilliant session where you can meet people and talk about your experiences."

Long-standing attendee Colin Payne, who served as an infantry signaller with the former Royal Leicestershire Regiment, said: "It’s great to meet other veterans and reminisce. I’m lucky I do get out and about but for some people these coffee mornings are a real lifeline."

Luke Raddon Jackson, Group Manager – Assets and Major Projects for Blaby District Council said: "We are grateful to The Armed Forces Covenant Trust for providing the funding for these monthly events. As a Council we are committed to supporting our Armed Forces and their families, whether they are veterans or currently in-service. Our coffee mornings are hugely popular and long may they continue."

12 June 2024