Free leisure passes to be handed out to veterans and serving armed forces personnel in St Helens

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Every veteran and serving Armed Forces personnel in St Helens is to be given free access to the council’s sports and leisure facilities.

The offer extends to serving personnel when they are on leave, while veterans are entitled to free daytime usage.

The scheme is part of an ongoing centred on celebrating the achievements of the Armed Forces.

It launches on Monday, October 9; the day when the council honours local Victoria Cross (VC) recipient John ‘Jack’ Molineux by unveiling a commemorative paving stone outside the St Helens cenotaph in Victoria Square to mark 100 years since the Sutton-born soldier received his VC medal.

The decision – which comes in light of the Government’s work with local authorities and others to support the forces through services, policy and projects – will see serving personnel whose families reside in the borough given free access to Go Active sports and leisure facilities when they are on leave, and for seven days starting on Armed Forces Day which takes place on the last Saturday of every June.

Meanwhile, recipients of an Armed Forces pension and/or compensation from the Ministry of Defence will receive a free Go Active membership which entitles them to daytime usage of council-run leisure centres, including weekends.

The existing offer will still continue whereby any current serving personnel or veterans residing in the borough may join the concessionary bronze membership, allowing access to leisure centres at any time in line with current timetables.

Council leader Barrie Grunewald said: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.

“This scheme will introduce a package of measures to allow both serving and retired forces personnel to access sports facilities to remain fit and active, and is a small token of our appreciation to the men and women - past and present –who have given or continue to give their all for our country.”

Production of ID will be required.

For more information, visit your local Go Active centre or call 01744 671720/671726.