A councillor who set up a veterans’ group in memory of her late husband has won a community hero award.

Liz Burns, who is the councillor for the Leavesden Ward set up the Veterans’ Support Group Abbots Langley in April 2018 after her husband died six years ago.

Cllr Burns not only set up their group to remember her husband who served in the Royal Marines Police Force for 27 years but believed veterans needed a place of comfort after they leave the service.

Cllr Burns said: “The group serves a need for veterans to combat loneliness and isolation. They feel comfortable being by their own sort of folk.

“Military men have their own language because they use military diction words so they feel comfortable around people who can do the same.

“Some of them can suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and need a safe place where there is no loud music or banging doors. Since it opened 15 months ago it’s gone from strength to strength.”

The group takes place every Monday of the week and the first Monday of every month advisors from Veterans UK are invited to help give financial advice.

Cllr Burns added: “Sometimes it can take up to seven years for an ex-service men or women to integrate back into society because they have been institutionalised.

“They’re told to get up and going in the morning, have breakfast and do a routine march – life within the services is extremely structured. There is a plan for every hour of the day.

“The family find it hard because they have to adapt too but once they leave, they have to go back to a standard nine to five routine and it’s a different ball game.

“When they leave there isn’t much support out there for them. Some have illnesses which they have developed since they left, and their mental health can be non-existent.”

Veterans who attend the group even include World War Two ex-soldiers who still need a circle of comfort.

When told about the award, Cllr Burns said: “It is humbling but I’m honoured. For the group to be recognised on our area is very important.

“I’m grateful we’re working with the Working Men’s Club as we meet there for no cost – they really helped us as we started with no funding."