By Kevin Smith
Tea and toast were enjoyed at the first veterans’ breakfast in Bognor Regis.
Nearly 30 former servicemen and women went along to the social occasion at the town’s RAFA Club.
They tucked into a cooked meal and took the chance to chat to those who had also served their country.
One of the veterans present, Felpham man and former soldier David Edwards, said: “There is nothing else like this in the town. It’s about getting like-minded people together for a bit of breakfast and a bit of chat.
“If this proves to be a success, we could become an official armed forces breakfast club for Bognor Regis.”
Everyone at the event on Saturday was aware of life in the armed forces and the potential difficulties when its members returned to civilian life.
“It’s almost like being in a bubble when you are in the services,” said Mr Edwards, who is Arun District Council’s armed forces champion.
Those who had served in all the forces went along. The breakfast’s organiser, John Haste, said the turnout after the first hour of the two hour event was 27.
“I was looking at 25 people coming along and I’m expecting two more to turn up, so I’m pleased with this for the first event.
“When I left the Royal Navy in 1987 after 25 years, there was nothing to help me. It’s different now.
“But the people who are out there, and who need help, may sometimes be too proud to ask for it.
“Holding breakfasts like this might be able to help somebody in difficult circumstances if need be.
“We want to know about it if there is somebody who would like to come along.”
The breakfast was helped by the donation by the Tesco store in Bognor Regis of all the ingredients needed for the meal thanks to the efforts of its customer service manager, Gary Maguire.
It is hoped other retailers in the town will be able to help out for future breakfasts.
The RAFA Club’s chefs, Bob and Jan Charman, cooked the breakfasts.
The next event will take place from 9am-11am on April 4 at the RAFA Club in Waterloo Square. Mr Haste can be contacted for further information on 01243 827007. Tickets cost £5 each.