TWO very important visitors have given the thumbs up to the new veterans centre developed by the Beyond the Battlefield charity in Portavogie.
People turned out in large numbers last week to meet Chelsea pensioners Willy Frazer and Barney Redmond and to give them a proper Ards peninsula welcome.
The two men were hosted by Captain Thomas McKinney, formerly of the Royal Irish Regiment, and his wife Anne.
They came to see first hand the work being carried out in Portavogie by veterans charity Beyond the Battlefield who look after the wellbeing of the ex-service community.
Harbour House provides shelter to ex-service personnel who may be homeless or suffering from PTSD and the adjoining Rendevous Cafe provides a relaxed environment for veterans and members of the community to enjoy tasty homemade treats.
The Chief Executive of Beyond the Battlefield, Annemarie Hastings, said they were ‘delighted’ to greet the two Chelsea pensioners in Portavogie and it was an ‘honour and privilege’ to show them round the new public cafe and veterans centre.
“Everyone listened to the old war stories with great interest.” she continued. “They told us of the wonderful accommodation, comradeship and the high standards of care and support they live under as veterans of the British Army in recognition of their loyal service to our country”.
Mrs Hastings said the people of Portavogie and the Ards peninsula have shown immense support to the Rendezvous café and Beyond the Battlefield.
“This has helped build our foundations here for the future of homelessness and mental health care for our veterans here,” she added. “We are truly grateful to each and every one of our customers for their encouragement”.
Peninsula councillor Robert Adair said it was ‘an honour and privilege’ to meet with Mr Frazer and Mr Redmond in Portavogie. “It was great to have them at the veterans centre in Portavogie where they were very well received,” he continued.