A GULF War veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome is urging people to rally behind our troops by sending them messages of support through the Evening Press.

Marianna Finch, 32, of Cumbrian Avenue, Strensall, York, was a member of the Territorial Army when she was called up to serve in the last conflict.

During that war the Army arranged for local newspapers to be sent out to the Gulf. Marianna said receiving messages from people back in Britain really helped to boost her morale.

"It was my 21st birthday while I was in the desert so my family put a message in," she said. "It was really nice to know people at home were thinking about us."

Marianna contacted the Evening Press with her idea, and we want family and friends to send us their messages for the troops which we will place on our website.

An Army spokesman said the fast-moving nature of the Iraq campaign meant it was difficult to get newspapers to troops in the Gulf at present.

Marianna was medically discharged from the TA last August after 15 years' service. In the Gulf, she was a combat medical technician.

She said: "The TA have been absolutely fantastic and they are always there for me. But I do have very mixed emotions. I feel very bitter about what happened to me.

"As a TA soldier, to get the chance to go and fight a war, to do the job you are trained for, is something you are never going to have again.

"However, the standard of care I received on my return was inadequate.

"There was no rehabilitation or counselling.

"Hopefully, these soldiers won't suffer in the same way and a system has been set up to deal with it."

Marianna understands what both soldiers and families feel as her husband, Mark, is serving in Northern Ireland and the couple have four young children.

"I know exactly what the guys will be feeling. The adrenaline will be pumped. You are worried, but not as much as the people at home. It is a different type of worry.

"Troops on the ground know what is going on and just want to get in and do their job. I can say that honestly as a soldier and an army wife."

Marianna has her doubts about the current conflict, but feels we should do our best to support the troops who are fighting in the Gulf.

"They should have finished the job 12 years ago. I think the leaders have gone about it the wrong way.

"Unfortunately there is not as much support as last time round.

"It annoys me to see that people don't appear to be supporting our troops."

If you have a loved one serving in the Gulf or would just like to wish our troops well, email your messages to: jon.butler@ycp.co.uk or to digital.media@ycp.co.uk Or you can write to Zoe Walker, York & County Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York, YO1 9YN.