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“I CAN TAKE PRIDE IN MYSELF”

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Life can pass you by if you let it. By signing up with the Royal Navy Reserves, however, you can end up with no end of incredible memories.

Richard Cooke, Able Seaman

“The RNR has given me many fantastic and incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences and opportunities,” says Richard Cooke, who joined in 2008.

Those opportunities included participating in Remembrance Ceremonies and the Armed Forces’ Day events, as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Muster at Windsor.

“I marched through Windsor Castle and the streets of Windsor, in front of hundreds of people and the Queen,” says Cooke. “This culminated in a formal reception with high-ranking military officers and members of the Royal Family.”

As well as the Jubilee, the summer of 2012 was notable for the Olympic Games, which Cooke again played a part in. “I was part of the Venue Security Force that worked to ensure the Olympics went ahead and that everyone had a safe and comfortable experience.”

He adds: “Throughout my time at the London 2012 Olympics, I was immensely proud of my uniform and the work I was doing. Through the RNR, I have found I can take pride in myself, my accomplishments and in doing something rewarding and worthwhile in my spare time.”

And that something worthwhile means potentially saving lives as an Able Seaman. Cooke explains: “My specialisation is Maritime Trade Operations [MTO], concerned with the safe passage of ships through hazards. MTO assists ships to safely navigate around the coast of Somalia, and avoid piracy.”

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Get more from life with the Royal Navy Reserves

Sign up to widen your horizons while getting in great shape

You may have a happy home life and job you love, yet you might still crave something more. If so, that missing ‘something’ could well be filled by joining the Royal Navy Reserves.

Richard Cooke graduated from university and pursued a career in education, yet still felt he had more to offer. “I still fancied doing something more and wanted to be involved in the armed forces,” he says. “So I joined the Royal Navy Reserves where I could have the best of both worlds: an ordinary civilian career and an enjoyable, exciting and fulfilling career in the Royal Navy Reserves in my spare time.”

On top of those advantages, joining the Royal Navy Reserves also provides a great way to maintain and improve your fitness. Cooke adds: “I have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of physically demanding activities, which can range from sailing to football, to mountaineering, to running and walking, all of which help me to keep fit.”

royalnavy.mod.uk/navyreserves

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