Veterans of the Armed Forces of Salford enjoyed a Xmas meal of festive cheer and entertainment courtesy of the Salford Armed Forces Breakfast Club CIC. Claire Marie Street, Director of the club, shares her story of the joy the Xmas meal brings to our Veterans each year.
Claire and the rest of the team, myself and Verve, have been holding fundraising events throughout the year, raising funds to buy Xmas gifts for veterans living alone. The fundraising not only provides Christmas presents for the Veterans, but each Veteran has a home-cooked Christmas lunch with all the trimmings! They have additional gifts from the Christmas raffle with prizes donated by the local business. Additionally, they have a festive Xmas hamper filled with Christmas cheer, ensuring the warmth of Christmas stays with them throughout the Christmas holidays.
Claire shares with us the reasons why this camaraderie and friendship means to everyone at the Breakfast Club…
‘So much work and planning went into this day; we wanted to make sure that everyone had a fabulous and home-cooked, 3-course Christmas lunch. We were delighted when Richard Wellocks donated the fresh vegetables; Hills Biscuits donated to the 12 food hampers; and Gazegill Organic Dairy Farm ( Ian O’Reilly ( Armed Forces Veteran) donated the turkey!
The Oldham Scottish Pipe Band provided entertainment and played various songs that we all remember fondly, especially our WW2 veterans singing along and enjoying it immensely. Even though it brought tears of joy to many on the day, they loved it, and that for us was what last year was all about.
Veterans and Verve pitching up with a trusty Tombola and Helen’s cakes…
We carried out the fundraising throughout the year and frequently pitched up alongside our Armed Forces Veterans Community on their community events. Anywhere we could get in, we went. Firstly, we were fundraising to get together a Christmas lunch. Secondly, we wanted to raise awareness of the Salford Veterans Breakfast Club and the fantastic work in our community.
Our mission was to raise funds from tabletop stalls and car boot sales with our trusty Tombola drum. Our marque was a magnet for many, mainly due to the beautiful selection of cakes that Helen made for us. They were delicious and exquisitely made, and they all sold out on the day; Helen’s generosity and kindness were awesome, and her commitment never wavered.
Helen donated her time and made the cakes free of charge; she was terrific. We had a stroke of genius on the hottest day of the year. We filled a large bin with ice cubes and threw in cans of fizzy drinks for the frazzled customers; subsequently, they sold out in minutes, and as a result, they boosted our coffers considerably!’
Fundraising to prepare a meal which would be ‘fit for Kings’.
After all, we were doing this to get Christmas hampers and Christmas presents for the Veterans. Also, we needed to buy table settings and decorations, plus the rest of the foodstuff required to prepare and serve a meal fit for kings; this was by no means a small operation. Undeterred, we set off and raised the money needed to make the day fantastic; thus, we achieved it. The Christmas lunch was delicious, and most importantly, our Armed Forces Veterans loved it.
On the day itself, the volunteers that worked tirelessly with us throughout the year came together, and they helped to make the day memorable; everything went perfect! We know that this will be the only Xmas dinner for some of our Armed Forces Veterans this year. Ultimately, the reason for all the fundraising was to make sure they had a fantastic day, a day they would never forget!
Claire Marie Street – Salford Veterans Breakfast Club CIC Director
Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at The Salford Veterans Breakfast Club CIC.
Peace and Goodwill to you all!