A SALTCOATS breakfast club for veterans and members of the armed forces have been honoured at parliament.

The Saltcoats Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club (AFVBC) regularly meet at the Melbourne Cafe in the town after forming in 2017.

Back in October we reported how the club were honoured, alongside the cafe, by Age Scotland's Patrick Brooks Award for Best Partnership Working.

READ MORE: Veterans Breakfast Club and Melbourne Cafe win Age Scotland award

And earlier this month, both the breakfast club and cafe were able to celebrate the honour once again - this time at the Scottish Parliament.

The group were part of the 150 guests invited to at Holyrood to celebrate Age Scotland's 80th anniversary.

The event, which was hosted by Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson, gave Age Scotland the opportunity to showcase all the brilliant work being done by older peoples groups and individuals across Scotland by inviting award winners along.

This gave the Saltcoats AFVBC and Melbourne Cafe the chance to once again discuss how the club provides a much-needed place for a relaxed get-together. 

Irvine Times: The group at the awards.

There is no hierarchy, forms to fill in, or fees to pay. Members simply turn up on a Monday morning for some easy-going banter and to enjoy a free first cup of tea, generously provided by the Melbourne Café owner Elaine Meney.

Paul Coffey, of the Saltcoats Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club, said the group was delighted to be invited along to celebrate.

He said: "We really enjoyed the night and were honoured to be amongst other award winners and listen to all the good work being done by groups and individuals.

"After the awards we had a chance to chat with our hosts and others about the work going on and the different ways older peoples lives were being enhanced.

"A lot of hard work is done by our members to ensure our veterans receive any help they need and to offset isolation, the awards reflects this work and recognises the important relationship we have with the Melbourne Café and its staff."

Mr Gibson said he was incredibly pleased to be able to help honour the group.

He added: “Saltcoats has many ex-armed forces personnel living in the area but missing the comradeship of serving together is still all too common.

“This can in some cases lead to other issues, including alcohol and drug dependency, which makes the existence of places like the breakfast club so important.

“I am therefore delighted to present Paul and Josephine Coffey, Maria Gillan, Margaret Johnson and Mhairi-Ann Muir with this award in recognition of their great work.”

The Cunninghame North MSP also picked up an award himself, as he was unexpectedly honoured with a special award by Age Scotland’s chief executive, Katherine Crawford.

The award recognised his long standing and strong support for the charity and to thank him for his support on national issues which he has worked on with Age Scotland over many years.


Mr Gibson will lead a Members’ Debate at Holyrood on November 28 to celebrate 80 years of Age Scotland.