Ex-Marine sets up coffee club in Morecambe to help elderly residents

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An armed forces veteran has set up his own coffee group to help other vets who may need a bit of support.

And he is now asking others to give up a bit of their spare time in a similar way to give elderly people some company.

Tom Bridges served in the Royal Marines for almost 33 years, before returning north to live in Torrisholme with his wife Jacqueline, where he soon made friends with fellow ex-Marine Kenneth Barnes, and was introduced to the local branch of the Royal Marines Association.

Tom said: “Kenny was from a large family of 11 children. He talked about his family all the time, he looked forward to his weekly coffee with his older brother Tommy.

“When Tommy, his last brother and sibling, passed away in January 2016 I decided to take up the mantle of the once a week coffee mornings with Kenny.

“What makes it especially poignant and sad was that this weekly tryst was sometimes the only occasion where Kenny got to speak to someone face to face.

“In today’s modern world of social media this seemed to me to be an extremely sad situation for a proud elderly veteran to be in and got me thinking that maybe there were quite a few of these characters within the borough. This surely can be sorted with little effort at all.

“I enjoy our coffee mornings immensely although I have heard the stories many times this does not matter because it gives Kenny a break and the chance to ‘download’ for a couple of hours at least.

“There are also a handful of other veterans who have joined this small gathering at the local Costa on Morecambe’s promenade and between the half dozen of us at what I have named the CDoGs (Coffee Drinking old Gits). The link we all share is the fact that we have all served within the military spectrum.

“I believe it is a great opportunity to shoot the breeze in what is extremely pleasant surroundings. It takes minimal effort and the returns are absolutely exceptional. The fact that you have made a veteran happy and lifted their morale is a great feeling and reward enough.

“This is a plea to anyone with the time to try and spare a few hours to lift a lonely veteran (or elderly person) who, lets face it, sacrificed their time during the post war period to ensure the future we now enjoy.

“There are probably hundreds that fall into this category within the borough, what a great lift for them and a fantastic way to remember the fallen and those that have served or even in fact people amongst that have reached that stage of life where loneliness is accepted as part of ‘getting old’.”