A former solider who set up a social club for other ex military personnel says his first meeting was a great success.
Ben Mead held his first meeting of Military Roots at Eastbourne’s Naval Club in Beach Road.
People who had registered to become members of the club attended along with the Mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Mike Thompson, who showed his support.
Ben is also looking forward to meeting the town’s MP Stephen Lloyd.
The 32-year-old set up Military Roots because he spent many years in the army and wanted a place to shared his thoughts and socialise with like-minded people.
Ben came back home to Eastbourne after the helicopter he was flying in was nearly taken down. He spent nine years in the Army and saw action in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 2006.
Ben said, “It wasn’t easy being on the frontline but it has made me a stronger person but I know how hard it is to settle in to civilian life.
“I also know from personal experience that it is so hard to talk and relate to people. Often they just don’t understand the sense of humour.
“It can make people feel very isolated.”
Ben says he came up with the idea of creating a new social group while out in Afghanistan and found out there were many people of varying ages in and around Eastbourne who had served in conflicts.
When he settled back in Eastbourne, he started to work to set up such a group and he says he has been delighted with the response. The number of members has now reached 50 and Ben is hoping more people will come forward.
He said, “I would like to welcome all new members to Military Roots.”
The first meeting took place recently and Ben said, “I would like to thank everyone who attended the first meeting.
“It was a good turnout and great to meet up.”
Military Roots meetings are now planned for Ocotber and November, with an extra get-together on Remembrance Sunday.
To find out more email Ben at email@example.com.