A VETERANS’ charity were delighted to welcome VIPs as part of the Rossendale Art Trail.

The High Sheriff of Lancashire, Tony Attard and his wife Patricia along with the Mayor and Mayoress of Rossendale, Councillor Ann Kenyon and her sister Susan Kapler, visited the Veterans in Communities in Haslingden.

They were given a guided tour of the VIC Centre and saw the many classes that are held there and the facilities available for former military personnel and emergency services’ veterans.

Mr Attard spoke to veterans who had served at places including Belize, Cyprus, The Falklands, Northern Ireland and more.

He also spoke to former firefighters, police and a lifeboat man.

He said:

"To have somewhere like this, where veterans can go, meet friends, feel safe and be able to do things, like painting, is a really lovely thing."

Chief Executive Liz Hamilton showed Mr Attard around the centre and he was impressed with the artwork that was being produced and chatted at length to Falklands veteran Darren Horsnell, Arts and Crafts Co-ordinator, who was running a Bob Ross painting class.

Mrs Hamilton said: “We could not run this centre without the goodwill of our many volunteers.

"We have eight paid members of staff, but only three of those are full time. I have recently been calculating the amount of volunteer hours that people put in at VIC and between April and August it was 1,500. That included classes, outreach and activities.

"We could not do what we do without the support of our volunteers. It was lovely to be able to show Tony around and to welcome the Mayor Cllr Kenyon into the centre."

VIC was set up in 2012 to help service personnel return, belong and prosper in their own communities.