A special dinner has raised just over £2,000 for a café set up for armed forces veterans in Huddersfield.

The formal dinner for Tommy’s Lounge included a raffle and auction for the cafe which is in a fantastic old building on Station Street just off St George’s Square in Huddersfield town centre.

Tommy’s Lounge was set up by Jennie Thorn, her partner, former Regimental Sergeant Major Mick Riley, and her mum, Sue Longbottom, in September 2021 and is a vital lifeline to former forces personnel although anyone is welcome to go there.

Inside it’s a comfortable lounge and is furnished like a military mess featuring maps, army and RAF uniforms, berets and lots of other military memorabilia.

The café, run as a community interest company and thought to be the only place of its kind in the UK, does fundraising events to keep it going and has a GoFundMe page HERE.

It’s open from 7am to 2pm Tuesday to Friday and from 10am to 3pm on Saturdays so is an ideal spot for early morning commuters to pop in for a drink or cooked breakfast. The café’s speciality is German Bratwurst and Currywurst as many of the veterans served in Germany.


Jennie Thorn and her partner Mick Riley


The fundraising dinner was at the Masonic Lodge in Slaithwaite and was organised to give people an insight into a full formal regimental dinner in a sergeants mess.

Jennie said: “People really enjoyed the whole experience and we’ve already decided we’ll hold another one next year.

“Tommy’s Lounge has become such a valued and special place by all the veterans who go there but it’s open to all so anyone can pop in for a drink and food while meeting some special people who have given so much for their country.”

Among the raffle prizes at the dinner were hand-crafted wooden presentation boxes with vintage port inside. The boxes commemorated the famous Dambusters raids carried out by the RAF’s 617 Lancaster Squadron in May 1943.

Everyone at the dinner was given the opportunity to remember loved ones they had lost and all the names were later read out. Several were soldiers who had fallen while serving their country or have since taken their own lives.

To find out more about Tommy’s Lounge go to its website at https://www.tommyslounge.coffee/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TommysLoungeHuddersfield

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.