STROUD District Council has voted to appoint a new ‘military champion’ to ensure both past and present servicemen and women of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces receive due support from the community.

The council is creating the role as part of its pledge to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, described by the council as ‘a statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community’.

A district councillor will take up the position as the council seeks to encourage support for the military community that work and reside in Gloucestershire, plus veterans, their families and widows.

It follows all 407 local authorities in mainland Great Britain which have pledged to uphold the Armed Forces Covenant.

A Royal British Legion spokesperson said: “The Royal British Legion instigated and lead the campaign to enshrine the core principles of the armed forces covenant in law.

“Since the passing of the Armed Forces Act in 2011, RBL has continued to monitor, campaign and encourage government and civil society at all levels, including local councils, to honour their commitments under the covenant.”

SDC leader Doina Cornell said: “This position is more about the problems and difficulty that face those who serve in the Armed Forces often find themselves in following their service.

“We need to ensure that they get the extra support they need which, sadly, is not always forthcoming.”

The initiative will also see a member of the Royal British Legion based at the Council to offer support to veterans.

A dissenting voice was Cllr John Marjoram (Green) who said: “I can’t see any reason for placing the military increasingly at the centre of our government,” he began, adding: “I do not understand why we insist on glorifying war.

“We make too much of the military at the expense of other essential services.”

Cllr Norman Kay, a long-standing member of the Royal British Legion, recently wrote a letter to SNJ saying, “Is it too much to suggest that remembrance should be increasingly combined with reconciliation and the future?”