Chester Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club donates £800 to Maggie’s cancer charity

Veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces in Chester have raised hundreds of pounds for a charity close to their hearts.

Every two weeks, members of the Chester Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club socialize and support one another.

Last year the group raised £800 for cancer charity Maggie’s Wirral, which supports people with cancer in and around the Wirral, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales.

The club, which has supported worthy causes in the past including Scotty’s Little Soldiers and Walking with the Wounded, chose Maggie’s last year.

The donation came as Kimberly Noble, wife of Sean Noble, one of the group’s administrators, sadly has secondary metastatic breast cancer. Maggie’s supported the Noble family throughout the cancer diagnosis.

Lynne Welsh, Cancer Aid Specialist at Maggie, accepted the £800 check in a presentation held at the Brook Street Café this weekend and said: “A big thank you from Maggie.

“We are here to support anyone affected by cancer and especially over the past two years it has been so difficult for people living with cancer during the pandemic.

“We’ve been open throughout the pandemic and patients have really appreciated that.”

The Chester Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club was one of the first of its kind to open in the UK in 2014, with around 200 clubs currently operating in the UK, Malta and Hong Kong. Other groups that may meet locally are those in Buckley and Ellesmere Port.

Members of the Armed Forces are welcome to join the Chester Group, which has only one rule – “Respect One Another”.

Paul Anstey, a former Royal engineer and one of the group’s administrators, said it was a place where “like-minded people can meet, discuss and support each other”.

He added: “We don’t pretend to offer therapy but we can show others who may be struggling what support is on offer and we help each other with mental health. There’s still that camaraderie.”

“We’ve got about 400 members on Facebook now, and we’re probably the largest ex-Forces group there, and we’re completely independent.

“Our oldest member is in his 90’s and served in the Malayan Emergency. We were visited by some high profile people, the Chester Sheriff and Rep. Chris Matheson.

“We had royal engineers, medics, the Cheshire regiment and a couple of RAF guys. These are mostly ex-army, but all military forces are welcome.

“We are also for families, like widows. One of our members had problems and showed up and was initially mouse shy. She’s now one of the group admins and we can’t silence her now!

“We’re all friends here now.”

In addition to meeting every two weeks, the group also hosts days, an annual barbecue, and other social events where people can donate some money to raise funds for charity.

Members of the group have also been able to meet virtually on Zoom during the Covid lockdowns.

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