Ashcott pub now Afghan Heroes charity's soldiers' retreat

A former pub has been transformed into a retreat for soldiers returning from tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Somerset-based charity Afghan Heroes has built the retreat in the ex-hostelry, in Ashcott near Glastonbury.

It is being converted into a property for up to six servicemen or women to stay in.

A mentor offering counselling and help with getting new qualifications and finding work, will be on offer to those who stay there.

Denise Harris, of Shepton Mallet, founded the charity after the death of her son, Cpl Lee Scott in 2009.

'Like a family'

"When I set up the charity it was to support the families who were left behind, who were going through what we were going through, and also to support the troops on the front line," she said.

"The soldiers tell us it means so much to spend some quality time away from the pressures, away from home just relaxing and to be with their wives and children."

Mrs Harris said her aim was to build a further 10 or 11 such retreats around England.

"For me this post-services facility is the ultimate goal," she continued.

"It's like a family bridging the gap between the forces and civvy street - it's here for the young boys to come and rebuild their lives,

"We're looking at having a bar and restaurant so people from the community can come and support the boys and it'll help with the funding so it becomes sustainable.

"We'll always be here for them to come back to," she said.

The retreat in Ashcott is due to open on 4 December.

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