By Andy Hirst

A self-help group has been set up for forces veterans in Huddersfield.

The Rural Veterans Hub will help people who have served in the army, navy or air force, especially those feeling isolated or suffering mental health problems such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It’s been organised by Linda Rudkin who served in the Women’s Royal Army Corps in the early 1970s. Her husband, Colin, did five tours of Northern Ireland with the 3rd Royal Green Jackets between the early 1970s and the mid 1980s.

Linda, who was an administrative manager in the NHS for 30 years, said: “I’ve realised that more needs to be done to help people who have left the armed forces and, over the years, I’ve written to countless MPs, but none even replied.

“Far too many ex-service personnel live lonely, isolated lives or are suffering from PTSD so I decided we needed to organise a group ourselves.”

Linda has now set up the Rural Veterans Hub with help from the Denby Dale Centre. It will have two groups – one focused on activities while the other is more to just meet and socialise. The ages of those attending will range from their early 20s to mid 90s.

A ‘banter group’ will meet at Shelley Village Hall on the first Tuesday of each month between 12noon and 2pm and feature guest speakers along with a light lunch. The first meeting is on Tuesday, February 7.

The activities group will meet on the second Thursday of the month from 6pm to 8pm at the clubhouse at Nortonthorpe Sports Club on Springfield Avenue in Clayton West. The first meeting will be on Thursday, February 9.

The aim is to also set up a Vets Who Lunch luncheon club which will meet in different venues across the HD8 postcode area which includes Clayton West, Denby Dale, Emley, Fenay Bridge, Kirkburton, Lepton, Scissett, Shelley, Shepley, Skelmanthorpe and Birdsedge.

Linda said: “We want the format of both groups to be decided by the members themselves.”

Although the groups are primarily for people living in the HD8 postcode area, anyone who has served in the armed forces is welcome.

“We’d never turn a veteran away,” said Linda. “I’ve already had an inquiry from a veteran who lives outside the area who is lonely and really struggling but is really excited the group has been set up.

“We are here to help as many people as we can. People are finding life very difficult at the moment due to the cost-of-living crisis and this comes after the Covid pandemic and lockdowns made some veterans even more isolated.”

She said the Rural Veterans Hub is being supported by Denby Dale Centre chief officer Paul Jones, local GPs, local Kirklees councillors and Conservative MP Mark Eastwood, whose Dewsbury constituency includes Denby Dale, Kirkburton and neighbouring villages.

Anyone wanting to attend should call Linda on 07769 583334 or email her at

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.