A ROSSENDALE veterans’ group has set up a new section for wives and girlfriends.

Inspired by the success of the chart-topping Military Wives choir, Veterans In Communities (VIC) member Suzanne Preston decided to start a WAGs’ club for women in the Valley.

An initial meeting will be held at Crystal Rocks cafe in Bacup Road, Waterfoot, on January 18.

Suzanne, whose husband Chris was in the Army for 16 years, said the group would offer support to partners of those struggling with mental health issues. She said: “This is of special interest to me after all I have been through.

“It will be great to get together with the other wives without the guys around and be able to speak openly and freely.

“It is much needed and will hopefully give the women an opportunity to speak about the challenges they and their families cope with.

“It will hopefully develop into an opportunity to share coping strategies and gain support and experience from each other.

“I think it is a definite step forward in the dev-elopment of VIC.

“Very few organisations are doing this at present.

“They all state that they support the veteran and his family but there is very little in place.”

VIC is managed by ex-Royal Engineer Bob Elliott, who took over from the work Veterans in Action had been doing in Rossendale for the past year.

He said: “We have links with the Military Veterans’ Service and Combat Stress for psychological and mental health illnesses including post-traumatic stress disorder cases.

“What people gain most is being able to talk to others who really understand what they are going through.”