Break­fast club to be­friend vet­er­ans

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS - KAREN BRIT­TON

AGROUP of vet­er­ans are launch­ing a club to com­bat lone­li­ness af­ter hun­dreds of strangers at­tended a fu­neral for a for­got­ten soldier.

More than 300 peo­ple at­tended the fu­neral of Royal Marine vet­eran Harry Wheeler, 96, to pay their re­spects af­ter it emerged that he had no known fam­ily and it was feared no-one would at­tend.

An ap­peal was launched on so­cial me­dia which was picked up by the Ex­press and it prompted peo­ple to say good­bye to Harry at his fu­neral at Mac­cles­field Cre­ma­to­rium.

And now some of the vet­er­ans who at­tended the fu­neral have been in­spired to launch a new group to com­bat loneli- ness among other peo­ple in Mac­cles­field who used to be in the forces.

Mark Lo­mas and Wal­ter Freude­nau are or­gan­is­ing the Vet­er­ans Break­fast Club which will be an op­por­tu­nity for vet­er­ans from all Forces in­clud­ing the Army, Navy and RAF to get to­gether over break­fast to so­cialise, share sto- ries and make friends.

Mark, 46, was a soldier in the Army for nearly 24 years and had tours in North­ern Ire­land, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was part of the Cheshire Reg­i­ment which merged with the Mer­cian Reg­i­ment.

Mark, of Sut­ton Close, Mac­cles­field, said: “It was so amaz­ing to see so many peo­ple come out for Harry’s fu­neral.

“It’s so sad to think of him in that care home all alone and that no-one may have come to his fu­neral.

“A few of us went to the Pack Horse pub af­ter the fu­neral and we got speak­ing and thought it would be good to have some­thing in Mac­cles­field to stop other vet­er­ans be­com­ing lonely like Harry.

“So many vet­er­ans go into their shell and it would re­ally help them to meet other sol­diers and have some ca­ma­raderie again.

“There are peo­ple in care homes who don’t have any­one else.

“We’re work­ing with the care homes to try and get peo­ple out and about.

“There are lots of peo­ple in Mac­cles­field who would ben­e­fit from a club like this, so we don’t have an­other vet­eran like Harry.”

The first meet­ing of the new Vet­eran’s Break­fast Club is on Saturday, June 17 at the Pack Horse, West­min­ster Road, from 9am to midday.

Mark would like to hear from peo­ple who want to join and is launch­ing a Face­book page.

Vet­er­ans Mark Lo­mas (left) and Wal­ter Freude­nau are set­ting up a Vet­er­ans Break­fast Club in Mac­cles­field

Jon Fuller-Rowell

Papa John’s is com­ing to Mac­cles­field at the former NatWest at Park Green

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