Jack marches in Royal foot­steps

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - david.sey­mour@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk By DAVID SEY­MOUR

A TEENAGER from Peter­bor­ough is set to fol­low in the foot­steps of the Duke of Cam­bridge and Prince Harry, af­ter earn­ing him­self an army schol­ar­ship to the pres­ti­gious Royal Mil­i­tary Academy Sand­hurst.

Jack Wright (16), of Far­leigh Fields, in Or­ton Wis­tow, se­cured a place at the world­fa­mous train­ing cen­tre af­ter im­press­ing the Army Of­fi­cer Se­lec­tion Board dur­ing an ex­act­ing two-day as­sess­ment.

The Thomas Dea­con Academy pupil will now re­ceive fund­ing from the Sur­rey-based-es­tab­lish­ment to sup­port him through col­lege and univer­sity so that he can en­ter the army for of­fi­cer train­ing af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

Jack said it was a “dream come true”.

He said: “It’s one of the things I have been want­ing to do for a very long time.

“It gives me drive and de­ter­mi­na­tion and a goal to aim for.”

Jack joined the Com­bined Cadet Force at the age of 13 and has risen from the rank of cadet to staff sergeant in three years. He is a mem­ber of the army branch of the 49th Bri­gade, based at the Thomas Dea­con Academy, in Queen’s Gar­dens, Peter­bor­ough.

The army states that suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants for schol­ar­ships will only be of “overt qual­ity, aca­dem­i­cally strong and likely to be good am­bas­sadors for the army whilst at school and univer­sity”.

To prove his worth, Jack had to com­plete a se­ries of phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenges de­signed to test his po­ten­tial as an of­fi­cer, in a two-day as­sess­ment held near the Welsh bor­der, in Oc­to­ber.

He said: “It’s fair to say those were the most nervewrack­ing days of my life. I was on the edge the whole time.

“It was one of the big­gest chal­lenges I have done.

“I kind of felt like an un­der­dog com­ing from a state school.

“Ev­ery­one else was from gram­mar schools or pri­vate schools.

“I felt a lit­tle bit out of my depth. I felt a lit­tle bit in­fe­rior. That’s where all the nerves came from.”

De­spite his nerves, Jack tri­umphed and found out he had be­come the first pupil from the academy to se­cure a schol­ar­ship at the end of Novem­ber.

Jack, who is think­ing about study­ing his­tory at univer­sity, hopes to take up a com­bat role in the army.

He spoke of the at­trac­tion to a life in armed forces.

He said: “I like the mil­i­tary life­style. I es­pe­cially like the idea of trav­el­ling, and I like the idea of ad­ven­ture, and I like the idea of do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent with my life, as op­posed to a nine-tofive job.”

Mother Marie (44), who works in in­sur­ance as a project co-or­di­na­tor for the Phoenix Group, said she ini­tially had reser­va­tions about her son join­ing the army as she did not want him get­ting hurt.

But she also spoke of an over­whelm­ing “pride” at his suc­cess.

She said: “Once he sets his mind to it he will achieve what he wants to achieve.”

Fa­ther Martin (44), who works as a sheet metal worker for Multi-fab in Peter­bor­ough, said he was “over the moon” for his son.

He said: “When some­one wants some­thing so much, you want it as much for them.”

Ma­jor and con­tin­gent com­man­der Chris Thomp­son added: “It is fan­tas­tic for him. He is a credit to not only the CCF, but to the school as well.

“To have been se­lected is just fan­tas­tic, and now a lot of my cadets look up to him and are in­spired by him.”

PRIDE: Thomas Dea­con Academy pupil Jack Wright, 16, at home in Or­ton Wis­tow with par­ents Martin and Marie Wright.

(METP-16-12-11PF013) Pic­ture: PAUL FRANKS In­set with com­bined cadet force in­struc­tor Chris Thomp­son.

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