British ex-serviceman launches veterans breakfast club in France

British ex-serviceman launches veterans breakfast club in France
Photo: AFP
An armed forces veteran and firefighter who lives in France is setting up a club for ex servicemen and women.

Andy Parkin, who is based in Mayenne, is setting up the club for fellow veterans or members of the emergency services who may be suffering from loneliness or depression since leaving the service – or who just want to socialise with other people who have a shared experience.

Andy, who is currently a serving UK firefighter and former Royal Engineer, said: “Far too many veterans are taking their lives and suicide rates are high.  

“A few years ago a couple of ex soldiers got together for a 'fat freddie fry up' and swapped old stories etc.  It proved to be a huge success in helping bring together both serving and ex servicemen and women once a month and there are no hundreds of breakfast clubs, mostly in the UK but also in popular expat locations. 

“The British Army actually promote these clubs in the resettlement packs given to service personnel on leaving so that they can find a place of familiarity and friendship upon arrival in Civvie Street.  

“Only those that have left the services actually know how lonely it can be once out and many have turned to alcohol and other addictions to help deal with the transformation, obviously this doesn’t help.”

The majority of clubs are in the UK, but Andy has launched one in Mayenne, northern France, an area he commutes to between his shifts as a firefighter in the UK, and runs a weekly breakfast from 9.30am onward on Saturdays.

The groups are free to attend and more details can be found on the Facebook page Desertines Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club.

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