AN organisation which provides a lifeline for ex-servicemen and woman is appealing for help to ensure those who have served their country do not spend Christmas alone.

Bolton Armed Forces Centre for Veterans is putting on a free Christmas dinner for veterans, some of whom would otherwise be by themselves.

But organisers are still without a venue for the event and are desperately hoping someone could step in to help.

Cait Smith, from the centre, said: "We held the first Christmas dinner for veterans last year, it was a huge success and veterans have been asking when this year's Christmas dinner will take place.

"We had 68 people last year, some of whom would otherwise be spending Christmas alone. This could be because they may have PTSD or their relationship has broken down since they have come out of the forces.

"This year we have been fundraising for the meal, but we don't have a venue as yet. We are hoping someone may come forward, a pub or somewhere which provides a buffet.

"We are looking at having the meal on the December 22 and December 23."

Bolton Armed Forces Centre for Veterans is based on Ashburner Street and was set up to provide help to veterans ­— some just in their late teens to those well into retirement ­— who have found it difficult to adapt to life on civvy street. The centre helps to find accommodation for those who are homeless, signpost them to specialist health services and support them in other ways to adapt to life outside the forces.

Cait said: "We have just helped one veteran who has been living in a car to move into new accommodation, we have a quite a few people like this who would otherwise being spending Christmas alone.

"This is why the dinner is so massively important, it is giving something back to veterans."

To raise money for the dinner, the centre has been selling and raffling off gifts including the much sought after Aldi's carrot set, complete with the parsnip.

Cait along with Scott Hawtrey have also bought Christmas presents for the children of ex-servicemen and women who will be at the meal.

Donations can be made in cash to the centre, with money going to pay for the Christmas dinner.

Anyone who can help with a suitable venue can drop into the centre or ring 01204 776628 or email

More information can also be found at