Soldier qualifies as physical training instructor in Army

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An Eastbourne soldier has qualified from the Army School of Physical Training.

Michael Veevers, 31, has recently negotiated his way successfully through a testing course and passed out from the Army School of Physical Training (ASPT) in Sennelager, Germany qualifying as a Physical Training Instructor (PTI).

Michael, who is an Acting Lance Bombardier with 26 Regiment Royal Artillery based in Gutersloh Germany said, “When I joined the army two years ago it was an ambition to become a PTI so I am incredibly proud to have realised that ambition.

“The course has been very intensive and fast paced with many challenges to overcome and not just physical ones - that said rope climbing was one that took a while to master.

“However, once you get into a routine of managing your time between studying and training it did become easier and all in all it was good fun.

“The work I did back at Regiment working in the gym before coming to the school was great preparation.”

At the start of the course 50 soldiers began the course designed to test everything from endurance and leadership through to teamwork and physical ability.

Come the end nine weeks later 35 soldiers had successfully proved their character and mental fortitude overcoming all the challenges put before them and formed up on parade to be inspected and receive their Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) badge, consisting of crossed swords and crown, from the Colonel Commandant of the RAPTC, Lieutenant General James Bashall CBE.

As this was the final course to be held by the school, before its relocation back to the UK, the passing out parade for the PTIs was marked with a Beating the Retreat ceremony by the Band of the Household Cavalry and the final lowering of the Corps flag.

At the end of the events, commanding Officer of the ASPT Lieutenant Colonel Keith McDonald said, “It has been a fantastic day and I am proud to be the Commanding Officer, proud of what the school has achieved over the years and finally proud of everyone who has passed out today.

“They have become part of history and entered the final page of our history in Germany.”

For Michael, who has in the past ran marathons raising funds for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance and is a keen cyclist and nordic skier amongst his other sporting interests, his next aim is putting his new skills and knowledge to good use.

• To join as a regular soldier you need to be at least 16 years old, although you can start the application process earlier, with your parents’ permission. If you’re under 18, you’ll also need parental consent to join. You should be in Army phase 1 training before your 33rd birthday.

To apply to become a regular officer you need to be between 18 - 28 years and 11 months, although you can apply for sixth form and university sponsorship before you reach this age.

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