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Gravesend woman to relaunch veterans club

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 September 2018

Paul Bulpin (right) with Phil Symonds. Picture: Charlotte Summers

Paul Bulpin (right) with Phil Symonds. Picture: Charlotte Summers

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A woman from Gravesend will be relaunching the Gravesend Veterans Club in Clarence Place.

Charlotte will be relaunching the Gravesend Veterans Club in Clarence Place. Picture: Charlotte SummersCharlotte will be relaunching the Gravesend Veterans Club in Clarence Place. Picture: Charlotte Summers

After both of her parents became ill, Charlotte Summers initially contacted club secretary David Draper to enquire about social clubs held at the Veterans Club after a referral from Age UK.

“My father Paul Bulpin is a veteran having served in the British Army and both he and my mum have had some serious health issues,” Charlotte said.

“I thought that attending the club may offer a small amount of respite.”

Charlotte was given David’s number to make arrangements for her father to attend.

Charrlote with her father Paul and duaghter Darcy. Picture: Charlotte SummersCharrlote with her father Paul and duaghter Darcy. Picture: Charlotte Summers

David told her that the club used to be a thriving community of veterans but that over the years had become more like a community hall.

Charlotte said: “David and I spoke for quite some time and he said he would be very accommodating if I wanted to revive the veteran’s social group and a coffee morning on a Wednesday.

“After some thought and a few conversations with some of the veterans that we already know I took David up on his offer,” said Charlotte.

“We are looking to bring the veterans of Gravesham together for a cup of tea or coffee, a slice of cake, a game of cards, a board game or just a good old fashioned chat.

“In time we hope to introduce a monthly event, have a guest speaker and add an entertainment evening here and there.”

Charlotte is also arranging with both Gravesham mayor cllr David Hurley and local MP Adam Holloway to meet to recreate the original photograph taken on September 29 1954 of the veterans hall being opened and presented by the mayor of the veterans.

She said: “I hope this will be on Wednesday October 10.

“This would mean that the photo would be recreated some 64 years after it was originally taken.

“All members are welcome and all serving members of the armed forces and veterans too both from armed services and emergency services.”

Charlotte said she believes there is a need for the club as it’s a way of showing that the community values veterans and uniformed services past and present.

“I believe it’s an important and integral part of the community,” she said.

“It is invaluable to veterans young and old.

“Some of our older veterans may feel slightly isolated due to circumstances such as illness, health issues and loss of family and friends.

“It is important to remember what these people have done for us and their contribution to society - past, present and future.”

Charlotte said that, for younger veterans, the club will continue the sense of camaraderie, again valuing their commitment to their communities.

She said: “I hope the Veterans Club will provide a friendly, safe and supportive environment for all our veterans and their families.

“It will provide a meeting place and a social space, where people can get some respite from everyday issues and pressures.”

Charlotte added that the club has already made links with Age UK and SSAFA, and that she aims to continue to make links within the community as well as with sports clubs and British forces.

She said: “I hope to restore the Veterans Club to what it used to be - a thriving community!”

The relaunch will take place on Wednesday September 5 from 10am-12pm.

The club will then continue to run at the same time each Wednesday morning.

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