Excitement is mounting for one Lancaster charity in anticipation of a special visit to its veterans’ hub in June. On 5 June His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent will meet former members of the armed forces and emergency services supported by FirstLight Trust. They include regulars who attend fortnightly meet-ups at Sharpe’s on Market Street. The Duke will also meet with those who raised sponsorship funds through running last year’s Bay Gateway, Morecambe 10km, Pilling 10km and members of Team Flight who raced 30 miles while carrying a 30lb pack through Exmoor during Storm Callum.
“It’s a real honour to have the highest-ranking officer of the British Army, the Field Marshal himself, come to find out more about our work,” explains hub support coordinator Gary Parish and Team Flight’s leader. “Lancaster was the third hub to be set up by FirstLight Trust but it’s the first to receive a royal visit. It’s also great for the local community’s support to be recognised in this way. We couldn’t have achieved half of what we have without the help of organisations and businesses such as Burnley F.C., Strawberry Gardens Pub, The Market Cobbler, R. Preston’s Quality Butcher and countless others.”
The Duke of Kent graduated from Sandhurst and served as a second lieutenant and then a captain in the Royal Scots Greys. He was stationed in Hong Kong and Cyprus. His Royal Highness is also the Honorary Air Chief Marshal for the RAF. As well as coming to Lancaster, he will also be visiting Dig-In North West, Ashton Park Walled Garden, Rococo Café and the British Commercial Motor Museum in Leyland.
“We’re really interested in speaking to His Royal Highness about veteran care and support,” says Dorinda Wolfe Murray the founder of FirstLight Trust. “Here in Lancaster we provide a safe, welcoming space for veterans to ask advice, get support or just have some banter. We know he has a busy day, but we hope he will have room for a slice of one of our delicious home-made cakes and a cup of our coffee!”