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  1. ITV Report

North East Veterans Bar's final Remembrance Sunday ahead of big move

By Kris Jepson

A North East veterans bar will pay its respects on Remembrance Sunday to those lost in war for the final time at its Stockton premises, ahead of a move to a new location.

The Don War Memorial Bar owners told ITV News it has to move to the Thornaby site due to costly overheads and growing demand for its services.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Julie Cooper has run the bar for seven years, which not only provides a sociable venue for veterans to drink and eat, but also holds fundraising events for military charities, puts homeless vets up in bed & breakfasts and signposts struggling former service personnel to access help and support from professionals.

Volunteers are helping to strip walls and do DIY at the Thornaby location, but they still have to do "big jobs" like re-wiring the former pub and installing a lift.

We are way behind with the work. I've got a handful of people, a handful of veterans that go in every day. One them is a lady. She comes down from Newcastle. She's 78 year old and she comes in every day and she makes teas and coffees for some of the workers that are there. We don't have materials. The funding that we've raised is about £10,000, so we've just invested in £8,000 of materials."

– Julie Cooper, Don War Memorial Bar

Veterans who attended a bacon butty club on Wednesday told ITV News how important the bar is to their lives.

Former sergeant in REME, Michael Scott, served for 17 years in the military, before joining the prison service. He has been visiting the bar for the past couple of years.

He told ITV News, "This place to me is home. I do suffer with PTSD and I find this is a God send. It's like home. I don't feel a threat anywhere. I can rely on other people. I don't...anywhere else I go, I have go have my back to the wall, but here I don't.

Nobody questions me. Nobody asks me...They ask me if I'm ok and so forth and it is a place for me."

Graham Brocklesby, who served as a signaller in the Royal Corps of Signals, said "Oh, I've seen guys walk in here. Young guys in their twenties come in here, burst into tears and leave with a smile on their face and that's what this place means. It just means the world to people, it really does."

The bar is planning a parade for Remembrance Sunday and a large event to follow.

Ann Burrows, who served as a Private in the Royal Logistic Corps said it will be an emotional day for everyone involved.

It's going to be very, very moving, because it's an end of an era in a sense, and new beginnings and that'll be taken into account as well. You know, people will feel it, 'oh our home, it's gone', the home's gone.

– Ann Burrows, Veteran