Council in pledge to help ex-service people find their feet in civvy street

A town council has signed a covenant to mark its commitment to giving a helping hand to service personnel when they leave the armed forces.

Signing the Armed Forces Covenant are Major Jason McConville and mayor Mark Whittle, and behind are, from left: vice-president of Market Drayton Royal British Legion, Councillor Roy Aldcroft and Councillor Ian Nellins
Signing the Armed Forces Covenant are Major Jason McConville and mayor Mark Whittle, and behind are, from left: vice-president of Market Drayton Royal British Legion, Councillor Roy Aldcroft and Councillor Ian Nellins

Market Drayton's mayor Mark Whittle, a former soldier himself, remembers the day when he left the forces after 20 years of service to Queen and country and was delighted to be able to sign the Armed Forces Covenant with Major Jason McConville.

Councillor Whittle said: "It is all about doing what we can to help soldiers coming out of the forces.

"Some may have joined at the age of 18 and spent 10 to 15 years in the forces. They won't have had to pay a tax or a gas bill.

"When he steps out of the gate he is Mr Lonely, with a wad of cash and tempted to spent it all. But there is no more coming in and they have to find a home and a job."

Market Drayton, being close to the Clive Barracks at Tern Hill that is currently occupied by the Royal Irish Regiment, is full of serving and former forces people.

Councillor Whittle said the town council is well placed to help squaddies taking their first faltering steps in 'civvy street', and he praised the role of fellow veteran and town councillor Ian Nellins for his role in getting the covenant signed.

"It has been on our agenda for the last six years so the feeling I had when we actually signed it was great," said Councillor Whittle.

The councillor is looking forward to welcoming a platoon of Irish Guards, a piper and a drummer, for this year's Remembrance Day parade on Sunday, November 13.

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