Military veterans supported by Help for Heroes have shown their solidarity with Ukraine by making 200 trench candles which will be heading to the war zone’s front line in the next mercy mission from Huddersfield.

The veterans spent a busy day at Crafters Cottage in Honley which was turned into a production line to create the trench candles which can be used to warm drinks and packets of food as well as providing light and helping to prevent frostbite.

Tins were packed with strips of tightly curled corrugated cardboard and then filled with soy wax which keeps a flame burning for up to seven hours, even when wet.

The visit was one of numerous community activities organised by Help for Heroes to help veterans and their families live well after service.

Linda Rudkin, 69, from Shepley, served in the Army before marrying her husband, a former soldier, who served five tours in Northern Ireland.

She said: “It’s a year now since Ukraine was invaded, its people are heroes and so being able to give a little bit back and show our support to them and what they are going through felt very rewarding.

Linda Rudkin

“Being able to do something practical that will make a difference made me feel good about myself. We achieved a lot and the camaraderie was fantastic, as it always is. The support I’ve had from Help for Heroes has been a lifeline.”

Crafters Cottage on Church Street is run by Julie Lindsay (below) who runs craft workshops and sells handmade gifts. She volunteered to make the latest batch of trench candles heading to Ukraine in February.

A total of 4,000 trench candles, three tonnes of wax to make more over there and other essential supplies, including bags of toiletries for male and female soldiers, will be transported as part of the Huddersfield to Ukraine Humanitarian Aid effort.

The initiative was launched last year by Tim Marsden, owner of the St Andrews Motor Company on Leeds Road, Huddersfield, who decided he had to act after seeing the horrendous news coverage once Russia invaded Ukraine.

He turned his showroom into a collection centre for essential supplies and remains a major drop-off point for donations including medical supplies, nappies, women’s sanitary towels, powdered baby milk, hats, fleece gloves, baby wipes and dried packet soups.

Tim said: “I couldn’t do all this without my partner Deborah, as she is the one that checks every single bag, box and container when it arrives at our garage.

“She takes 95% of all clothes, towels and bedding home and washes, irons and packs it with love and then we deliver it into Ukraine.

“We want to give hope to whoever opens the box and for them to know that they might be running on empty but that someone cares about them.”

Sarah Beale, from Help for Heroes, organises face-to-face activities across Yorkshire to help veterans and their families in their recovery. She said: “It’s all about fellowship, bringing like-minded people together so they don’t feel alone.

“If we can bring people together because they’ve got a shared interest in something, they are so much more likely to form meaningful relationships and connections with people.

“If you’re in pain, or if you feel anxious, stressed, or lonely, we can help. We can also help if you’re having money troubles or need support with housing or applying for benefits. To anyone struggling I would say we’re here to help you and your family live well after service,” she added.

Military veterans and their families across West Yorkshire can get support by visiting: Get Help | Help For Heroes