Bacon and eggs at Tallington Lodge near Stamford had a military flavour on Friday 21st February when RAF Wittering personnel were invited to the Veterans’ Breakfast.
Armed with copies of the RAF News and RAF Wittering’s centenary booklet, the officers and airmen wasted no time in getting to know the residents.
Flying Officer Ryan Johnson is the Station Adjutant at RAF Wittering and was one of eight from the Cambridgeshire airbase who started their day with Tallington Lodge’s resident veterans. He said: “Listening to the veterans was fascinating. Their stories were wonderful and told us how much, and in some cases how little, life has changed in the military.”
At a spritely 93 years old, resident James Fay’s sense of military banter is undiminished. A former Sergeant Major in the Irish Guards, Mr Fay captivated his visitors and was genuinely pleased to chat with the officers and airmen from RAF Wittering. He said: “They’re good lads, they all are.”
The party from RAF Wittering had no idea that breakfast would be cooked by a veteran until Tallington Lodge’s chef appeared wearing a blue beret. Ivan Peplow is a former RAF chef and, judging by the approving comments and empty plates, has lost none of the culinary skills he acquired when in uniform.
Manju Panankavil is the manager at Tallington Lodge. She said: “The Veterans’ Breakfast is part of our community programme. It was great to see how the residents really enjoyed it and their families too.”
Tallington Lodge, in the village of Tallington, is a specialist residential and dementia care home for up to 60 people. Recently renovated, it provides family-led care and engages in regular community events as part of its activities and wellbeing programme.
RAF Wittering is home to the A4 Force. Ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, the A4 Force is comprised of specialist engineering and logistics squadrons that support military air operations and exercises in the UK and abroad.
Group Captain Jo Lincoln is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering. She said: “Firstly, congratulations to Tallington Lodge for having this wonderful idea and thank you for inviting us to be a part of it. I know from speaking to my officers and airmen just how much they enjoy interacting with veterans and senior citizens.”
The Station Commander continued: “I believe we have an obligation to thank our senior citizens and veterans. Many of them have made significant sacrifices during their lives - their experiences and insights are of great value to us. It is always good to have an opportunity give something back, as they have given us so much.”