New book called Veterans' Voices includes war stories and anecdotes from 22 local heroes

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A new book packed full of fascinating stories from Northumberland veterans is due to be published next month.

The compilation has been put together by author Helen Aitchison, 41, in conjunction with Operation Veteran.

Operation Veteran aims to provide information, advice and support to veterans as they transition back to civilian life. Locally, it has started running a breakfast club at the YMCA in Ashington, which takes place on the second Monday of the month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Helen is also director of a community interest company, Write on the Tyne, which recently received a National Lottery grant to conduct creative writing classes.

Helen Aitchison has helped produce a book called Veretans' Voices.Helen Aitchison has helped produce a book called Veretans' Voices.
Helen Aitchison has helped produce a book called Veretans' Voices.

But instead of the classes, together with Operation Veteran, Helen decided to create a book documenting stories of local heroes.

The 22 tales have come from male and female veterans aged between 31 and 94.

The book will be launched on November 8 at Newcastle City Library and a Q&A session, which will involve some of the veterans, is due to take place at Cramlington Library.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Helen said: “What shines out for me is that they might be about conflict, but there’s so many other messages in there. There’s messages of love, of friendship, of hope and of the strength of human kind – it’s just phenomenal.

"One thing that really struck me when I’ve been speaking to them all, they all think ‘well, people don’t want to listen to my story’, but they totally do.

"It’s amazing and some of these people have never talked to anyone about the conflict that they’ve seen, about the trauma they experienced, about the human resilience that at the darkest of times, shone a light”.

The books will be given free to many libraries and schools in Northumberland, with the aim of keeping the important stories alive.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Helen added: "It’s the best thing that I’ve done in my 20-year career. I’m so pleased that I can bring these voices to light.”

The proceeds of the book will be going to the community interest companies involved, which have charitable aims, ensuring money is invested back into the local community.

For more information, go to