WEYMOUTH councillors have pledged their support to veterans and other members of the armed forces community.

The town council agreed to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant at a meeting on Wednesday, January 8.

The covenant recognises that the nation has a moral obligation to members of the armed forces, and their families, and establishes how they should expect to be treated.

By signing the document, the town council agrees to uphold the principles that "no member of the Armed Forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen," and "in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved."

Councillors received a presentation from Dorset Council's Laura Cornette and Kevin Moore, programme coordinator of the Dorset Armed Forces Covenant about why it was important for councillors to sign this.

They revealed that there are 6,500 serving members of the armed forces in Dorset and could be as many as 100,000 veterans in the county.

Mr Moore said: "I believe it's extremely important. The evidence is in the number of veterans and armed forces in Dorset. They do need our help and support because they do a great job for this country."

This pledge means the council has vowed to support the armed forces community in a number of ways, including to promote itself as an armed forces-friendly organisation, and to support the employment of veterans and service spouses and partners.

Councillor Christine James was chosen as the council's 'armed forces champion' after she urged councillors to pledge their support to the covenant.

She said: "I wholeheartedly recommend that we sign up to this.

"Having been a service wife myself there were times when I would have liked some extra help.

"What I would say is that the borough council signed up to this but it became just some words on a piece of paper.

"We need to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Town clerk Jane Biscombe was nominated as the Armed Forces Covenant officer contact. She said: "I'm very committed to this and working with our veterans is very important to this council."