HUNDREDS of people turned up to celebrate the official opening of Woody’s Lodge in its new premises last week.

Dignitaries including MP Alun Cairns, Penarth Town Council mayor Jon Luxton and Barry Town Council mayor Leighton Roland were amongst others who attended the ceremony at the Amelia Farm Trust in Barry.

Woody’s Lodge was set up by Penarth woman Sian Woodland in memory of her fiancé Paul Woodland, who died on a military training exercise in October 2012.

It was set up in February 2017 and aims to provide veterans with access to charities, advice, counselling and a place to socialise.

The charity moved from HMS Cambria to Amelia Trust Farm, just off of Five Mile Lane on the edge of Barry.

Dr David Trotman, the CEO for Woody’s Lodge, said: “The facilities in Amelia Farm Trust are amazing. We are looking activities where we can get people on the farm working with the animals.

“Woody’s Lodge has grown and grown since its beginning and it will continue to grow.”

Sian Woodland, who is the communications director at the lodge, said: “The partnership between Woody’s Lodge and the Farm is fantastic. It’s taken us a long time to get everything up and running and we are blown away by everyone who came to our official opening.”

Woody’s Lodge is open to all types of veterans.

Mike Hughes, 61, is a former police officer who attends the lodge. He says the lodge is a way for him to share memories and also help others.

He said: “You walk in Woody’s and you don’t have to tell anyone everything, no one makes assumptions or judges you.

“It’s a lovely place to come to be able to talk to people and I know you can talk to everyone and anyone but there’s certain things you can’t say. If other veterans want to share things that have happened for them, I’m there to listen.

“There is nothing bad that can be said and everyone can just sit down, have a coffee and chat.”