The RAF Benevolent Fund has launched our newly expanded RAF Veterans' Lunch Club at Princess Marina House to support older veterans.
Funded by the Aged Veterans Fund, which is funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds, the lunch club will now become a daily service and benefit RAF veterans and their partners.
The new initiative will aim to address some of the issues affecting older veterans, such as loneliness and isolation and will be available not only to those who currently visit Princess Marina House but also to the wider RAF veteran community.
Attending the launch were Bomber Command veterans John Bell, David Fellowes and George Dunn, the Littlehampton Town Mayor, Cllr Marian Ayres, Vice-Chairman of Rustington Parish Council, Cllr Jamie Bennett and Vice-Chairman of Arun District Council Stephen Haymes.
Councillor Haymes said: "It is a fantastic facility here. I have been a number of times and seen it grow. Every time I come everybody is always happy, cheerful and relaxed. Princess Marina House is an ideal venue for a lunch club and I hope it is successful and brings out the camaraderie for the veterans.
"Isolation for the elderly, not only the elderly the single people as well, is a problem in communities and anything like can help to alleviate that."
The subsidised service offers a three-course meal and afternoon entertainment followed by tea and cake offering a chance for RAF veterans to catch-up with old friends and meet others, whilst enjoying a day by the seaside.
Another guest at the launch, Marion Hipwell, 90, who served as a wireless mechanic in the WAAF during the Second World War, explained how the service will benefit her life.
Marion said: "I have only just lost my husband, and I moved to Littlehampton which I was not expecting to do. The lunch club is going to be a heaven sent thing to me. I have had to start my life again so to me, to be able to come somewhere where there is fantastic people that I can get on with is wonderful."
The Lunch Club will also give users the opportunity to learn of other RAF Benevolent Fund services which may be available to them.