‘It’s good to talk’: Breakfast club for Islington armed forces veterans to launch

Pageant master Peter McCafferty, pictured in 2012 after winning an Islington civic award. Picture: D

Pageant master Peter McCafferty, pictured in 2012 after winning an Islington civic award. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

Islington’s pageant master Peter McCafferty is also part of Islington Veterans Assocation. He tells the Gazette about his latest plan to get veterans talking – over a full English.

Peter McCafferty left the Royal Air Force 25 years ago. He can see, with hindsight, how he could have done with company from fellow veterans.

It’s why he is launching the Islington Armed Forces Veterans’ Breakfast Club on Saturday.

Held at popular fish ’n’ chip joint Fish Central, just south of City Road, the monthly breakfast club will be open to all serving members of the forces, veterans and members of the emergency services.

Former Holloway man Peter is Islington’s pageant master at memorial parades, a civic award winner, and founder member of Islington Veterans Assocation.

He recalls: “I came out of the Royal Air Force and I was lost. I didn’t feel part of the local population at first. A lot of people are similar.

“The breakfast club is mainly to assist people getting back into civilian life. When you leave the services, you tend to lose contact with friends and some people feel like they can’t talk to anyone. Getting together in a friendly atmosphere helps.

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“It’s basically chatting over breakfast. People don’t talk over meals these days. It’s a chance for people to talk about what they have done in the services, but also about other things that are perhaps not too horrible.”

The breakfast club was created by the national Veterans Association a few years ago, but branches are sparse in central London.

“Many are on the other side of the M25,” Peter says. “St Albans, Luton, Watford. We want to bring it inside as well.

“George Hussein at Fish Central does a lot of charity functions. Even though he does fish and chips, he’s opening for us for breakfast.

“If only six people turn up, that’s still six more than didn’t.”

With Islington Veterans Association now in its 10th year, Peter says: “We are now well established. We have come to be known as an organisation veterans can come and talk to.

“But we also include families of veterans – where they often find out what veterans did in the services. Too often, friends and family only find out the full extent when they pass away.”

Saturday’s breakfast club takes place between 9am and 11am at Fish Central in 149-155 Central Street. Entry is £5 per person, which pays for a full English. Call Peter on 07947 001 173 for more information.