HEROES are warmly welcomed in Dorchester.

That’s the message the county town sent out to servicemen and their families as a new scheme to support troops was launched.

Corporals Stephen Sullivan and Peter Aubrook, of Bovington Camp, said they would bring their families to shop and be entertained in Dorchester because of the Heroes Welcome scheme.

The soldiers were joined by Karen Charman-Allen to launch Heroes Welcome at The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester with town mayor Susie Hosford and Phil Gordon from the Dorchester Bid group. Karen’s son, Phil Allen, a former Dorchester schoolboy, was killed in Afghanistan last year while serving his country.

More than 15 businesses have signed up to display stickers in their windows showing that they offer a friendly welcome to the Armed Forces.

Troops and their families will be offered discounts and special offers at restaurants, cafes, museums and shops that display the logo. Corp Sullivan, who was joined by his wife Amanda and two-month-old son Leo, said: “It’s brilliant that Dorchester is doing this – something like this should be everywhere.

“I know that America offers a lot of things like this where you can get free entry to places. This is going to make everyone come to Dorchester to do their shopping.”

Amanda added: “We’ve heard about some other places offering welcomes but they don’t seem to advertise it.”

Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Burman, a garrison staff officer at Bovington Camp, said he expects around 1,200 to 1,500 people to visit Dorchester as a result of Heroes Welcome. People will now realise that there’s a centre of commerce in Dorchester.”

* To join the scheme contact the town council on 01305 266861 or 07799 494886 to receive stickers and sign up.