Armed Forces veterans across South Tyneside have welcomed a retired British Army officer as the first Patron of their local support service.
Lieutenant General Robin Brims has been appointed as Patron of South Tyneside's NAAFI (Navy, Army, Airforce and Families Institute) Break.
NAAFI Break, established in 2016, is a drop-in service for, and run by, Armed Forces veterans based in the Borough and supported by South Tyneside Council. It offers ex-service personnel a chance to socialise, network and get information about the wide range of support available to them in civilian life.
It is also one of the charities the Mayor of South Tyneside's has chosen to support during his year in office.
The Mayor, Councillor Norman Dick, joined the Mayoress, Jean Williamson, NAAFI Break Chairman Joe Mills and Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chairman of South Tyneside's Armed Forces Forum, to welcome Lt Brims during the first NAAFI Break session of the month.
The Mayor, who is an ex-veteran himself, said: "It was a real honour to welcome Lt. General Brims to our NAAFI Break. It gave us all an opportunity to come together to chat with some of our Armed Forces veterans to share experiences and memories and talk about the ongoing support for each other."
South Tyneside NAAFI Break runs on the first and third Wednesday of the month, from 10am to 11am, at Trinity House in Laygate and are open to all serving, reservists, veterans and their families.
Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chairman of South Tyneside's Armed Forces Forum, added: "We recognise the sacrifices made by our service men and women and we know how difficult it can be for returning services personnel to settle back into civilian life. NAAFI Break is just one of the ways we are helping to make that transition as smooth as possible while bringing together people who have played such as important role in our country's military defences.
"We were delighted to introduce Lt General Brims as the first Patron of the Borough's NAAFI Break. With his extensive military background and support for armed forces, it is a real privilege to have his endorsement."
Lt General Brims' military career began when he was commissioned into The Light Infantry in 1970. He later took command of the 3rd Battalion Light Infantry in 1989 and the 24 Airmobile Brigade in 1994. He was deployed to Bosnia the following year. He commanded 1(UK) Armoured Division in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His last appointment in the Army was Commander Field Army. He retired from active duty in 2008.
Lt General Brims is a Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and was High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear 2017-2018.
For further information about the support for Armed Forces in South Tyneside call the Council's Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000 or visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/armedforces