Test of mettle with Royal Marines

CRAWLING through mud, hanging from bars and being dunked in the sheep dip isn’t everyone’s idea of fun.

For a group of Public Services students, however, it was the kind of challenge they thrive on.

Priestley College arranged for the young people to complete a training course at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone to see whether they were fit enough to make the cut.

Sam Chappell, who is just 16, proved his mettle and scored highly enough to move onto the official commando training.

“It was great fun just pushing yourself when your body started to ache,” said the former Culcheth High School pupil.

“You have to get used to feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable and the experience definitely helped with that.”

The training took place over several days and included distance runs through swamps, freezing cold water and tunnels as well as numerous extreme fitness tests.

There was also weaponry demonstrations, lessons in tactics and field craft, camouflage and concealment and the chance to speak to Royal Marines about their roles and experiences.

Priestley’s contingent joined ‘recruits’ from other colleges and included the only girl taking part – former Bridgewater High pupil Tegan Olford.

“I wanted to prove to myself I could do it and do just as well as the lads,” she said.

All Royal Marines officers, recruits and reserves are selected and trained at Lympstone.

Tutor Paul Mackinnon, himself a former soldier, said it was important to give his students the chance to experience the commando training.

“It can help students decide whether they have a future in the Armed Forces,” he said.

“Some will realise it is not for them while for others it confirms the Forces are a path they want to take.”