World’s only REME Breakfast Club - and it’s in Horncastle!

School House owner Jane Read receives the REME Corps shield from locally based Breakfast Club member Peter Dale. Picture: John Aron.
School House owner Jane Read receives the REME Corps shield from locally based Breakfast Club member Peter Dale. Picture: John Aron.

According to various website reviews, the School House Coffee Bar in Horncastle is one of the area’s most popular meeting places.

Veterans from the Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corps (REME) would happily agree with that.

It’s 18 months since five of them met up for the first time in Woodhall Spa.

Originally, the idea was to create a club of ex-soldiers who had attended the Army Apprentices College in Carlisle.

However, the criteria rapidly changed when it was decided that the club should be open to any REME veteran who lived in Lincolnshire .

The next challenge was to find a venue that could accommodate a large number of aging former servicemen – and was central to all Lincolnshire.

After searching, it was decided Horncastle was the perfect location and an approach was made to the School House Coffee Bar.

Owner Jane Read quickly agreed to accommodate the group.

Since then, the REME Lincs Breakfast Club membership has gone from five to 90-plus with recruits from all over Lincolnshire – and some from out of the county.

Club spokesman Roy Saxby said: “The average turn out at our monthly breakfasts at the School House is around 20 and Jane and her brilliant staff look after all of culinary needs.

“It is the only REME Breakfast Club in the world and a detachment has been established in the north of the county in Grimsby where a NAAFI Break is held monthly between the Horncastle meets.

“Many members attend both clubs and there’s always a really good atmosphere.”

With several members in full-time employment and unable to attend midweek sessions, it is hoped to organise get-togethers at a weekend .

Members range in age from 80+ to 30 years and have served in such places as Korea, Egypt, Aden, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as Germany, the UK and other places.

Roy added: “Often working in extreme temperatures, conditions certainly test engineering skills.

“With all that experience, it is no wonder that there is lots of interesting, chat, banter, anecdotes and camaraderie.”

As a mark of thanks and respect to Jane and her ‘team’, the club has presented a REME Corps Shield to be displayed at the venue.

Roy explained that the breakfast club aims to support any REME veteran.

A ‘Raffle Without a Prize’ is held every month where all attendees purchase a ticket for £1.

He added: “All the money raised goes towards helping Lincolnshire-based REME supported activities.

“So far, we have supported a serving soldier who competed in the Invictus Games in Australia and bought a trike for a care home,” said Roy.

“This year, we will be making a donation to one of our members who coaches a blind archer who will be competing at the European Blind Championships in Italy.

“We’re also planning to give a grant towards the creation of a play park for disabled youngsters in Grimsby and support to a serving REME soldier who has been selected to compete for the army in motor sports.”

The REME was formed in 1942 during WW2.

It became responsible for the repair and maintenance of equipment for the repair of tanks, vehicles, radios, instruments and just about everything else. It also operates breakdown recovery sections throughout the British Army.

Thousands of young men and women have served all over the world as an REME soldier in every conflict, both as engineers and front line troops.

They also perform a vital role in peacetime operations.

•Find them on Facebook by searching ‘REME Lincs Breakfast Club’, New members will always be welcome (REME veterans or still serving only)