A breakfast club established in Portree last year for ex-military personnel is thriving with new people joining every month, according to its founder.
Donnie Nicolson who served in the Royal Marines set up the club in April 2017, and since then more than 30 people have joined the group which meets on the first Saturday of every month for a cuppa and a chat.
Speaking to the Free Press earlier this week, Donnie talked about how the club started. “The idea was suggested to me by a gentleman called Jack MacFarlane who is ex-RAF,” he said. “He had heard about these breakfast clubs that were popping up across the UK.
“The story behind them is that back in 2007, two ex-army guys used to get together on a Saturday morning for a cup of coffee, a bacon roll, and a chat. Through time more and more people were travelling distances to go to this weekly meeting — then people from outwith the area thought ‘why don’t we duplicate that here’.’”
Donnie said the breakfast club ‘brand’ was established in 2014 and since then it had grown in different areas: “There are probably around 30 at the moment in Scotland alone but far more down south,” he said. “There are even eight or nine in Europe and one in Australia. At one point there was one cropping up every week, but they are slowing down now.”
There are now more than 30 people involved in the Portree club, with around 12-14 typically attending each month.
Mr. Nicolson said: “After I had spoken to Jack, I said I would look into it — and here we are nearly 18 months later and there has been a really healthy response, with some good friendships having been made over that period of time.
“Most months we have someone new to the island or someone younger who is still serving — it is always good to hear a first-hand account of what they are up to.
“The club has proved really successful and there is a good atmosphere around the place, in that that all these ex-military serving personnel — whether they are airforce, army, marines or navy —have got a connection and they can share their stories and experiences. Generally, people are there for a bit of banter – to catch up on stuff they did in the past.”
He added: “People are welcome just to turn up and we have a Facebook page too where people can see what we get up to. We also meet at Christmas, when we have a night out. Last year we had around 20 people attending for that. It is a very social gathering of people who have a shared interest in what they have done in the past.”
The veterans’ breakfast club meets at 9 am on the first Saturday of every month at the Red Brick Cafe in Jans. All services personnel, former or current, are welcome to attend.
To visit the Facebook page – click here.