VOLUNTEERS braved torrential rain to help soldiers.

They completed a 15-mile sponsored walk and raised more than £550 for the newly formed Runcorn Veterans Association.

This voluntary organisation, set up last December, aims to help military personnel as they move back into civilian life.

Founder, former RAF cook, Billy Jones, aged 47, of Morval Crescent, Runcorn,said: “It can be very difficult getting settled into the local community, finding a job and somewhere to live.

“There are 1,458 ex soldiers in Halton. After the proposed redundancies, there could be another 1,200. If they are married and have families, that’s a lot of people.”

Runcorn RVA is working with local housing associations and community groups to establish support.

A ceremony to bless their new flag will be held next month.

Billy, who plans to set up a veterans association in Widnes next year, said: “I am really proud of the walkers. They were absolutely drenched.”

The volunteers, from the BT call centre in Warrington, were greeted at Runcorn Town Hall by the Mayor and Mayoress of Halton, Clrs Tom and Angela McInerney.