Notts veterans reunite at wartime event
Two social groups for ex-service Nottinghamshire veterans set up to reduce loneliness and isolation reminisced about old times at a World War 1 event at Rufford Abbey Country Park today (Wednesday 11 July).
The County Council was awarded £106,000 to fund a project worker for two years to link up veterans aged over 65 with local projects and activities to help them be more active in their community.
The groups from Beeston and Netherfield meet every week and are currently involved in activities such as being part of the Heritage Centre Community garden project at Beeston Rylands.
The Beeston group is planting flowers in honour of the veterans who have served in the British Armed Forces at the garden as well as improving their photography skills.
The Netherfield group is also starting a history project on the town and the surrounding areas during World War 1.
The ‘World War 1 Heritage Day’ event, organised by the Council working with Notttinghamshire Heritage Forum, included demonstrations, quizzes, competitions, storytelling and displays telling the story of life in Nottinghamshire during World War 1.
Organisations attended include the National Justice Museum, The Queen’s Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum and the Historic Ambulance Museum.
Navy veteran Barrie Walters, 78, from Netherfield said: “Events like this help bring back the memories. There are some things only veterans understand and remember because of their experiences.
“We used to have more clubs for veterans but these have closed down so there is a big gap. These groups help to fill this gap.”
Territorial Army veteran Gordon Marshall, 78, from East Stoke, Newark, said: “As a veteran living alone it can be very lonely but meeting up with other veterans at events like this helps you to come out of your shell and have that camaraderie you used to have in the old days.
“Being involved in the garden project is also giving me sense of a purpose.”
Councillor Keith Girling, the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “The wide range of displays, demonstrations and artefacts at this wartime-themed event helped evoke lots of memories for the veterans and brought the groups closer together.
“This fantastic project aims to improve the health and wellbeing of veterans who are at greater risk of loneliness and isolation in old age.”
It is estimated 5.8 percent of Nottinghamshire’s 750,000 population are ex-service community, which amounts to 43,500 residents.
For more information contact Sharon Sorensen from the Council on 07771 381124 or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/council-structure/supporting-armed-forces