A WAR of words has broken out in a heated meeting over plans to turn a former Swansea Valley hospital into a hub for veterans and their families.
Members of the Forces Aid Foundation — who are heading up future plans for Clydach War Memorial Hospital — were involved in a fiery exchange with community leaders who claimed they were not told about yesterday's public meeting.
Kevin Richards, of the foundation, who is behind the scheme to set up the centre, was also placed under fire for a previous venture called the Golden Grove Appeal and was asked where the fundraising cash went when it closed.
But he said the cash was invested in treating former service personnel suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through the organisation Healing The Wounds.
The Clydach scheme also includes a museum, a community restaurant and educational centre as part of the project.
Councillor Gillian Wakeman, of Clydach Community Council, told the public meeting: "We have invited you to a public meeting and you have ignored our requests for further meetings.
"We think it's underhand you ignored us totally and you did not say this meeting was going on — it seems to me that something dodgy is going on." Despite the angry exchanges during the course of the meeting, Falklands veteran and former Welsh Guard David Graham said everyone was behind the principle of having such a veteran support centre in Wales.
There are a total of 225,000 veterans living in Wales.
Fundraiser, Mr Graham said he had read in the press that members of the Forces Aid Foundation had "accused the council of copying their ideas" and said there was "baggage and some history" that needed to be sorted out.
He said he had the £250,000 needed to cover the cost of buying the hospital but said he had "no confidence" in what was going on in the meeting.
But Mr Richards said the foundation wanted to work with community on the project.
Both Armed Forces champion for the Vale of Glamorgan Janice Charles, and Major Mike Hooley walked out of the meeting in disgust at the comments made overall.
Mrs Charles said: "This could be a jewel in the crown for Clydach, for Wales and the first of its type in the UK."
She pledged to go ahead with the scheme.