Jack marches in Royal footsteps
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.