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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Exciting plans ahead as veterans support group advances in Ballymena

Launched just over 12 months ago, Veterans Support Group Ballymena continues to go from strength to strength, with members enjoying the most recent monthly veteran's breakfast get-together over the weekend.

Over 50 veterans came together on Saturday (February 4th), and enjoyed great food along with each others company, while hearing about the group's exciting plans for the future.

The local group which is dedicated to providing friendship, support and advice to local veterans, recently ratified its constitution and appointed Ballymena man Lawrie Philpott as chairman.

Speaking to Love Ballymena the newly appointed chairman explained:

"A lot of hard work has been going on over the last months, in particular the committee has been in talks with lots of associations, organisations and businesses, both locally and across the province. We are currently in discussion with council officers regarding what support can be offered.

"Mid & East Antrim Council Veterans Champion, DUP Alderman Billy Ashe, has been in regular talks with us on how best to support the needs of our veterans across the whole of the borough.

"It has also been great to engage with The Veterans Commissioner Danny Kinahan, alongside the Veterans Support Office, and local political representatives including councillors, MLAs and MPs, with our communications positive to date."

A photo of Veterans Support Group Ballymena Chairman Lawrie Philpott, pictured a number of years ago in mess dress from service in St Patrick's Barracks, Ballymena.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley (DUP) has been an ardent supporter of the local group and recently arranged for a visit UK Veterans Minister, Johnny Mercer MP, who enjoyed meeting and chatting with a number of the local veterans in Ballymena.

The group has also gained the support of both Choice Housing through the organisation's Good Relations Programme, and Radius Housing, as well as gratefully welcoming funding from Council.

Talking about upcoming plans, Lawrie said:

"Many events have been funded and our programme of monthly breakfasts will continue. Cultural events (including cross-border) are planned for the weeks and months ahead, all at no cost to the veterans.

"Our next event is a cross-border visit to Dublin Castle which was fully booked within an hour of being released."

Lawrie added:

"We are in regular contact with many veterans organisations across Northern Ireland and we have been encouraged by the positive feedback about how we are organised and what we are aiming to accomplish."

Anyone who would like to get involved and enjoy the benefits of sharing time with fellow veterans are encouraged to get in touch!

Further dates have been confirmed for the veterans Saturday morning breakfast get-together events for 4th March, 1st April, 6th May, and 3rd June.

Veterans Support Group Ballymena are currently working to establish their website and social media sites, but in the meantime you can call into the Services Club in the town for more information, or call Lawrie at the number below.

M: 07919 530 225


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