Blackpool’s part-time soldiers are marching into a new era after the Territorial Army was rebranded as the Army Reserves.
And helping usher in the changes is Major Jason Cupitt who has just returned from a three month deployment to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
Now he is urging others to sign up to the reserves and expand their horizons.
In civilian life Major Cupitt, a 46-year-old dad-of-two, works as a consultant anaesthestist at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
He said: “Joining the reserves has certainly satisfied my sense of adventure but it also offers you the chance to do something different and the opportunity to use your skills in other environments.
“It’s not just the chance to go on deployment, but on a weekly and monthly basis you also get chance to do things you would not do in your civilian life.
“I have just returned from my second tour to Afghanistan. I was part of Medevac, which involved going up in a helicopter to retrieve injured soldiers.
“It was very exciting, however there is an element of danger which is part and parcel of the role.
“But you also get a real sense of adventure and a chance to use your clinical skills in an environment you are not used to.”
Major Cupitt is based at Sir Matthew Fell House Army Reservice Centre on Parkinson Way, Blackpool, which is home to C squadron, 208 Field Hospital, and the Mortar Platoon of 4th Battalion The Lancashire Regiment.
Captain Martin Ellison, who runs the centre, said: “It isn’t just medical staff here in Blackpool, we have engineers, drivers and chefs all of which have deployed or have taken part in overseas adventurous training exercises including trekking in Nepal and sailing in the Arctic Ocean.
“Many of our reservists work better in their civilian jobs as the training we can provide makes them more adaptable.
“This has led on numerous occasions to individuals being given more responsibility and advancement in the civilian work environments.”
The rebranding means members of the Army Reserve are now fully integrated into the British Army and will benefit from better terms of service, including more overseas deployments and exercises.
To find out more, contact Captain Ellison on (01253) 349229.