THE iconic Bren gun is helping to raise the profile of a new military association for veterans.

The Central Lancashire Branch of the Royal Artillery Association was formed last October for all veterans, regardless of which regiment they are from.

Chairman Jack Dixon, who served in the Royal Artillery Association, said: “I remember carrying one of these guns across Malaya and we bought it to provide a talking point.

“The gun was being sold at auction for £600 but it was not bought, and when I explained about the association it was knocked down to £450.

“When we were in Hindley where we had a stall at a charity event, fathers were coming up with their children to look at it and talk about it.”

The association currently has 15 members and is raising money to taken the veterans on a battlefields tour.

Mr Dixon, who lives in Breightmet, received a Certificate of Merit recognising his efforts to send comfort boxes to troops in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2013.

He, along with the help of volunteers, would organise the dispatch of comfort boxes twice a year, including Christmas, serving troops would know people back home were thinking of them.

Mr Dixon said: “I think as the association gets more established our membership will grow.

“We are raising money to subsidise a visit to the war graves, some of the members have never been back since serving and would like to go back, which the association is trying to organise. I am very proud of the Certificate of Merit, as are my son and daughter.”

The association meets at The Roundhouse on the first Wednesday of every month.

Anyone who want to become a member or make a donation should ring 1204 531101.

The Bren Gun, usually called simply the Bren, was a series of light machine guns adopted by Britain in the 1930s and used in various roles until 1992.

It is best know for its use in World War Two.