FILEY is now an official ally of a national scheme offering support for the country’s armed forces heroes.
The town has joined the ranks of with the Heroes Welcome campaign, which provides servicemen and women with a warm and friendly welcome.
The project has already provided huge morale boosts for troops across the country, with many places choosing to offer Army, Royal Navy and RAF personnel and veterans discounts at hotels and businesses.
Filey joined forces with the scheme after John Colling, himself a veteran of 30 years in the Royal Navy, worked with organisers to bring the campaign to the town.
Mr Colling, who is chairman of Filey and District Tourism Association, said: “The overall aim is to make servicemen and women welcome in the town.
“If that’s all people want to do then that is fine, but if they want to go the extra mile that would be great too, though they shouldn’t feel obliged to do so.
“The scheme is a big boost to the servicemen and women, particularly those who are in or have just returned from hostile environments.
“It is nice for them to see the stickers and know that the people are behind them.
“I know from serving in Afghanistan that is hard out there and people don’t know the full extent of what is happening in the conflict.
“That is what Heroes Welcome is all about, it allows us to give them something when they come home which makes them feel welcome and offers somewhere that they can go with their families.
“You only have to look at Remembrance Day and the level of support offered by people for the serving troops and veterans
“That marks the recognition of everything those people have done for the history of our country, and hopefully Heroes Welcome can help in its own individual way.”
Mr Colling said he will be going around businesses in Filey next week to see if and how they want to take up the scheme and advised owners to think about what they would like to offer beforehand.
Heroes Welcome was founded in 2008 by the Scarborough South Bay Traders’ Association, with help from the Mercury’s sister newspaper, the Scarborough Evening News.
It has since attracted swathes of support from places across the country, including Wootton Bassett, in Wiltshire - which is synonymous with the repatriation of British troops - Weston-Super-Mare, Blackpool, Dorchester and Stirling.
The scheme is co-ordinated by John Senior, a former major with the 16 UK Air Assault Brigade.
He said: “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 good to see.
“The feedback has been tremendous and I know it means a lot to the guys currently serving in the forces to have such support.
“This has definitely set the tone and to see the towns and cities come forward is commendable.”