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Veterans get out and about to make most of new group
The new Bodmin Veterans Walking Group had its first meeting over the weekend and it proved to be a success, as many took the chance for some fresh air.
28th April 2021
By Ollie Young
A new walking group got off to a successful start at the weekend as veterans from across the Bodmin area met up for a stroll.
The Bodmin Veterans Walking Group is a new collaborative project from the Bodmin branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and the veterans charity Surf Action.
Husband and wife Derek and Debbie Coad of the RBL have worked closely with Mark and Mel Wesson at the charity to get the project off the ground.
Derek, who is chair of the Bodmin RBL branch, told the Voice: “The breakfast club that we run is for veterans, but we recognised that the first line of support is often wives, girlfriends, husbands and families.
“The Bodmin Veterans Walking Group is all about bringing your family or your dog along.
“Mark approached me six or eight months ago to discuss a walking group and we exchanged texts and we eventually agreed to get it done.”
Debbie said she thinks the connection people have if they have an army background is vital.
She said: “If you meet anther service person, you have an immediate connection, it just exists, brothers in arms.
“It makes it easier for people to break down barriers and talk to people because everyone has something in common.”
The day saw around 30 people meet at Respryn car park for a light walk to Bodmin Parkway.
“It was fabulous,” said Debbie.
“Everyone was happy and we had people coming who before just wouldn’t have come to an event like that.
“We have younger people struggling from recent conflicts and slightly older members who have been involved in the Falklands and other wars.
“We think we have something for everyone.”
Surf Action promotes better mental health through personal development, education, employment and aims to empower people to lead healthy, fulfilled and independent lives, as valued and active members of their community.
Derek believes that the frustration and isolation of lockdown means people will be keen to get involved.
He said: “I think as we come out of lockdown, everyone has a different story to tell and lots of people are grieving.
“I can imagine lockdown would have been a hard time for a lot of people.”
The group plans to meet every three weeks, which organisers say will avoid people getting bored.
Derek said Surf Action has links with counselling services, if anyone needs them.
Anyone who is keen to get involved with the group can find them on Facebook.