Bury's armed forces veterans are in for an early Christmas present this year.

Bury Leisure, the council's in-house sport and fitness provider have said all the borough's veterans can use council-run leisure centres for free.

It comes as part of a Bury Council and NHS Bury CCG agreement to give all serving members, veterans, and families the support they need.

This means veterans will be able to join currently serving personnel, ensuring they are recognised for the contributions to the two and are not disadvantaged in specific areas.

Cllr Richard Gold, cabinet member for communities and armed forces champion, said: "Bury has a long and proud military tradition and offering free membership to our gyms is just one of the things we can do to help our veterans.

"Our armed forces defend our nation and keep us safe in the most dangerous of circumstances, and we have a moral obligation to ensure we look after them and their families.

"The covenant commits us all to support armed forces personnel, veterans and their families in key areas such as employment and skills, health and wellbeing, housing, and integration with the local community."

Veterans can now use the facilities at all three council-run leisures, Castle, Radcliffe and Ramsbottom.

Cllr Andrea Simpson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said that serving military personnel have been entitled to free gym access for a while.

She said: "I'm pleased that we have been able to extend the free leisure offer to our veterans.

"They have given service to the town, borough and nation and this is just one of the things we can do to support them and help with their wellbeing."

The all-inclusive membership of these facilities includes three swimming pools and state-of-the-art gyms, fitness sessions, racquet sports, fitness technology including Swimtag, Boditrax and Matrix apps, and wellbeing support from Bury Live Well Service.

Dr Cathy Fines, chair of Bury NHS CCG added: "Our armed forces community should be able to enjoy the same standard of care and access to both physical and emotional health care as every member of our community."

To apply, veterans must show identification, in form of either an MOD 90 Id card, BOBVA ID card, Bury Veterans hub café ID card, veteran rail card, defence discard discard or discharge papers.

For further information, visit www.bury.gov.uk/buryleisure or https://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=16267.