Local News

Orkney Veterans’ Breakfast Club celebrates its 6th birthday

By Simon Brodie

Saturday 28th Jan 2023 saw the Orkney Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ Breakfast Club celebrate its 6th birthday breakfast, at the The Neuk Restaurant at The Albert Hotel. To help the group celebrate this milestone, the 23 members who attended breakfast were joined by Liam McArthur MSP, and Les Donaldson, Depute Lord Lieutenant, who gave a short speech at the end of the event.

L-R: Liam McArthur MSP, – Les Donaldson DL (Deputy Lieutenant of Orkney) – Simon Brodie, founder of the Orkney Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club, on the occasion of the club’s 6th anniversary breakfast held at The Neuk Restaurant & Bar, Mounthoolie Lane, Kirkwall. 28th January 2023 Image credit Adrian Hughes

The Orkney Veterans’ Breakfast Club started on 28th Jan 2017 in Eat-n-Treats on Victoria Street Kirkwall, then moved to the Kirkwall Legion for the a year or so prior to Covid. After Lockdown eased, the group started back up at Trenabies in Kirkwall but needed to find more disabled-friendly locations for some of our less mobile members and, as a result, we now meet up at various hotels / cafés across the county, on the last Saturday of the month.

The Orkney Veterans’ Breakfast Club has about 100 members, with around 20+ attending each of the monthly breakfast events. The group is open to serving military and military veterans (including reservists) from any nation and their immediate family, living in, or visiting Orkney.

Simon Brodie, (Founder) , Ian Taylor, Stephen Lobaczewski and Catriona Matheson. Image credit Adrian Hughes

“There’s no membership, no administration, no fees, and no pressure” says Simon Brodie, the group’s co-ordinator, “people just turn up on the day, sit down to socialise and eat breakfast together, pay for their breakfast, then head off afterwards.”

Current members’ service ranges from National Service in Singapore in the ‘50s through to modern conflicts and everything in between. The group has a balanced mix of Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force members, and there is always amazing stories being told and always some inter-service banter going on.

Breakfast clubs can reduce veteran isolation, build up social networks, provide mutual support, and create a sense of shared belonging that many veterans lost when leaving the Service. Whilst members come from all walks of like, different backgrounds, different political beliefs etc., veterans tend to have a similar outlook on life, a similar sense of humour and the social connections with other veterans at the Breakfast Club is similar to the connections they had with fellow service personnel when they served.

A great example of this comradeship and support is that during the breakfast on Saturday, a newer member who has recently moved up and who is looking for work was put in touch with both the Orkney DWP Veterans’ Champion (and Breakfast Club member) and also another club member who is aware of a job opening where they work. We have also had members discuss how having the connections at the Breakfast Club has had a positive effect on their health and well-being.

If you would like more information about the group, please get in touch with their co-ordinator, Simon, on 0790 9640884, email him on sibrodie01@gmail.com, or you can apply to join the group’s on the Orkney Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ Breakfast Club Facebook page.

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