NORTH YORKSHIRE parents of soldiers out in Iraq have told how they feel isolated and lacking in support as they worry for the safety of their sons.

They have said their plight would be eased if they could meet up with other soldiers' relatives, and share their worries and concerns with each other.

Now the Evening Press is considering launching a support group for relatives from our circulation area, to give them a chance to meet up and offer mutual support to each other as the war continues.

If relatives wanted, the group could also give parents and other relatives a collective voice on issues that might arise over coming weeks. The paper is prepared to host a launch meeting which could be attended by the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, girlfriends and wives of servicemen out in Iraq. One soldier's mother, Frances Ellerker, from Shipton-by-Beningbrough, near York, said she believed a support group was an excellent idea. "Friends very kindly ring me each day, and that is a great help, but only other parents who are in the same boat really know what you are going through," she said. York soldier's father Bob Cook also backed the support group idea. "We could all stick together and show support not only to our sons, but to the rest of the country."

If you are the relative of a serviceman involved in the conflict, and would like to see a support group set up, please phone Mike Laycock on 01904 567132, or Richard Edwards on 01904 653051, or email to, giving your name and telephone number. We shall report next week if there is sufficient demand and, if so, when the launch meeting will take place.

Updated: 16:27 Friday, March 28, 2003