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Orkney Veterans’ Breakfast Club

Since lockdown eased, the Orkney Veterans’ Breakfast Club have been meeting upstairs at Trenabies in Kirkwall for our monthly breakfast gathering, where the wonderful staff have looked after us magnificently. However, with some of our members being less mobile, the stairs have been causing some issues, so we have been on the lookout for alternative venues to meet at, once a month, early on a Saturday morning – finding suitable venues has not been as easy as you might imagine.

We have, however, managed to find a handful of venues that were open at a suitable time, had sufficient space for us, and were happy to accommodate us.  Unfortunately, in August there were some last minute communication ‘issues’ from the venue, which led to the Breakfast Club having to arrange a short-notice, and somewhat windswept breakfast roll at Leigh’s in Finstown. A delicious example of failing forward.

So not counting the August fiasco, Saturday 24th September saw us try out the first of our ‘road trip around Orkney’ venues, where we descended on The Neuk at The Albert Hotel in Kirkwall, at 0930 on clear, crisp Saturday morning.

We had a record-breaking number turn up, with an attendance of 20. It’s been a while since we reached those sort of numbers, and it’s great to see that many veterans gathering together.  As always, there were stories of various exploits over the years, and considering our members have served on land, sea, and air from post WW2 Singapore, all the way through to modern-day Afghanistan, there is always an endless stream of amazing experiences, to be discussed each month.

However, the main point of the breakfasts is for veterans to gather, create connections with other veterans in the community, and to combat loneliness and isolation. To be there for each other, and to remember that the camaraderie we experienced when serving, never ends. This initiative is further supported by the excellent efforts of Warrant Officer Stephen Waddle to involve local veterans in the Army Reserves Centre’s regular open evenings, where potential recruits can come along and meet troop members, and veterans, in an informal setting.

So how was breakfast itself? The chef and waitress at the Albert that looked after us were absolutely fantastic, and the delicious and well-cooked food was a huge hit with our members. I’ve never seen 20 people go so quiet so fast as when the food started arriving.  We really appreciated the fixed menu and the tea and coffee on tap, and the overwhelming opinion was that we would be back there in the future. Thank you Albert Hotel, you were magnificent.

Our breakfast club is open to veterans, serving military, and their immediate family living in, or visiting Orkney; this includes individuals of any and all nations. If you served, whether as regular, volunteer, or conscript, you’re welcome to join. There’s no membership, no fees, no admin, you just turn up on the day and pay for your breakfast.

Next month the Breakfast Club will be sampling the delights of the Standing Stones Hotel at Stenness, on the 29th October, which we’re all looking forward to. There is more information about our breakfast events, and other relevant issues, on the Orkney Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ Breakfast Club Facebook page

Sorry there are no photos, Nick was so much better at this 😉

Yours aye, Simon Brodie

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