Welcome for town scheme

NEWS of the spread of a Scarborough initiative which provides support for members of the armed forces has been welcomed.

The Heroes Welcome scheme, which was founded in 2008 by the South Bay Traders’ Association, has recently been adopted by Middlesbrough, Chesterfield and Nottinghamshire town Beeston – with Filey also set to throw its weight behind the scheme.

Cllr David Jeffels, the tourism portfolio holder with Scarborough Council, said it was good that the scheme was being recognised in more areas and it showed that Scarborough is a caring town.

He said: “Scarborough has taken the lead on it. It’s been a wonderful gesture that’s very much valued and appreciated by everyone in the services and members of the public.

“It not only recognises the wonderful work and dedication of the soldiers and military in general but it gives the public the opportunity to express their appreciation.”

Cllr Jeffels added that the scheme would also be appreciated by people during the forthcoming Armed Forces Day at the end of the month. He said: “At the same time it will be good for Scarborough – so many people should be praised for taking up the idea. We are at the vanguard of everything that’s happening.

“There can’t be many towns or cities across the country that have not been affected by servicemen being injured or, even worse, losing one of their soldiers to the troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have taken the lead with this scheme and I hope that other towns will follow suit.”

Last week the campaign has received another huge boost after the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy - which will host Olympic and Paralympic events in the 2012 London Olympics - reaffirmed its support.

Offering Army, Royal Navy and RAF personnel and veterans certain discounts at hotels, restaurants and businesses, the scheme is co-ordinated by John Senior, a former major with the 16 UK Air Assault Brigade.

At the time of last week’s announcement he said he had been left “humbled” by the strength of interest in the scheme.

He said: “I am very honoured by the response that we continue to receive. Scarborough has definitely set the tone and to see the towns and cities coming forward is commendable.

“The scheme is still very pertinent and I keep getting responses out of the blue from people wanting to join.

“The enthusiasm is great and it is really good to see.”

Heroes Welcome is which is also backed by the Swindon town of Wootton Bassett – which was recently became the first town in more than 100 years to get the title of Royal in recognition of its efforts to honour the UK’s war dead – Weston Super Mare, and even Phuket in Thailand.

Recently the campaign took on a corporate angle with businesses and further venues queuing up to show their support.

• Anyone could apply for stickers to promote the scheme by logging on to www.heroeswelcome.co.uk