Seventeen past members of the armed forces from Scarborough and Pickering, together with some family members and carers, joined the Ex-Forces Support North Yorkshire (EFSNY) team for a journey to remember.
The afternoon started with a warm welcome from the EFSNY team at Pickering railway station, where guests for the day explored the 1930s’ style station, tearoom and gift shop. The veterans particularly enjoyed learning about the station’s history at the visitors centre including its ‘claim to fame’, that sections of the Dad’s Army 2016 film were captured there. The afternoon continued with lunch on board the train, accompanied by camaraderie and cheer, before steaming in to the seaside town of Whitby.
Heather McCrorie, Ex-Forces Support North Yorkshire Project Manager, said: “We were really passionate about ensuring that our older ex-service men and women had the opportunity to experience the North Yorkshire Moors Railway today. We received lots of requests for trip on the Railway over the lifetime of the project and so it was an honour to be in a position to oblige. We really believe in going the extra mile to help our veterans make those small adjustments in their lives, which make all the difference.
“Listening to the incredible stories of war-time experiences the veterans shared with one another was a pleasure and the real highlight of the afternoon. We’d like to give special thanks to North Yorkshire Moors Railway for helping to make the day so special.”
Wendy Newton (wife of veteran Geoffrey) of Pickering said: ‘’It’s been a lovely day and everyone has been helpful and friendly. It has been such a change and great opportunity to meet people. We recognise that the EFSNY team work very hard for us and are so pleased that there is a charity available to support ex-forces people like ourselves in this way. We are really looking forward to the next day trip’’.
“We’ve all had a wonderful afternoon, reminiscing about bygone days and enjoying the stunning scenery of the national park countryside. It’s been such a treat to spend the afternoon on this glorious steam train; it’s been like a trip back in time.”
EFSNY raises awareness of the issues former members of the armed forces face in later life and retirement, offering practical and customised support to veterans to enable them to lead fuller lives in the way they would prefer. Some of the support on offer includes: practical and financial support; help at home and in the garden to remain independent, warm and safe; help to save money by switching energy suppliers as well as support for carers. There are also opportunities for socialising and getting out and about, including trips to areas of local interest with people who have been through similar experiences.
The support offered is completely free for veterans too access and is funded by the Aged Veterans Fund at the Ministry of Defence by the Chancellor using LIBOR fines. It is available to past members of any branch of HM Armed Forces, including those who completed National Service, who are aged 65 or over and live in North Yorkshire.
If you or someone you know would like support, please contact 01904 704177.