A RESERVIST in the Royal Navy says his office job at the University of Chester inspired him to sign up.
Chris Sampson-Jones, 27, works full-time as an exchange coordinator at the university but in his spare time he is a trainee officer in the Royal Naval Reserve.
Chris, whose day job involves helping students to find placements at universities overseas, is backing a new campaign to encourage more people to become reservists.
He joined the Royal Naval Reserve last year and has already been accepted onto the two-year officer training course.
Chris said: “It’s worlds apart from my day job but that’s what appealed to me. I spend most of my time at work behind a desk in an office.
“What I do with the navy gets me out and about, and gets a bit of colour in my cheeks. There’s no getting away from the fact that they work you hard but it’s one of those train hard, play hard environments. The whole time, you’re doing it with people who are very much like-minded.
“The students I deal with in my day job taking part in exchange programmes to places as far as Central and South America and the Far East.
“When you hear about some of the far-flung places that the students are going to, you want to be getting those experiences as well.
Chris, who lives in Birkenhead, is one of 2,300 men and women who currently serve as reservists in the Royal Navy alongside their normal day job. Most have no previous military experience.
He said: “The time commitment needed to be a reservist is significant, and I wouldn’t want to play it down, but it’s far from unachievable.
“People enjoy what they’re doing and it doesn’t feel like you’re giving up your time.
You’re actually getting paid to do something you enjoy and something which makes you a better person as a result.
“At the moment, some people might call me mad, but I’m doing a full-time job, I give up roughly four evenings and one weekend a month for the navy, and then I’m also studying a law course. Plus I’m still finding the time to do up my house.”
Chris is backing a drive to sign up about 150 recruits in the North West over the next three years.
Anyone interested in finding out more can go along to the Royal Naval Reserve Live event at HMS Eaglet in Liverpool on Saturday, September 28.
People will be able to meeting serving reservists like Chris, take part in physical and mental challenges, and watch demonstrations on weapons-handling, firefighting and chemical defence.
For more details call 08456 003222 or go to www.royalnavy. mod.uk/navyreserves