Rewarding life as part of the Navy reserves

Royal Navy reservist Richard Cooke, from Ilkeston, at the Olympics.
Royal Navy reservist Richard Cooke, from Ilkeston, at the Olympics.

As the Royal Navy prepares to launch a three-year recruitment drive across the East Midlands, a school teacher from Ilkeston tells the ‘Tiser about his time as a reservist.

By day Richard Cooke helps children with learning difficulties at a primary school in Ripley. But his ‘hobby’ in the Royal Naval Reserves (RNR) is just as rewarding.

“I enjoy RNR so much and its one of the few times where you can say you get paid to do a hobby you love,” said Richard, who joined RNR in 2009 after considering which career to follow while at university.

“I had always been interested in joining the Royal Navy but I also had a desire to follow a civilian career, in particular a care and pastoral role in the education sector.

“I had been told about the possibility of joining the Royal Navy part-time, which gave me the opportunity of pursuing both careers.”

As well as participating in the Windsor Jubilee Armed Forces Muter at Windsor Castle last July, he helped to provide venue security for the London 2012 Olympics. He trained as an x-ray machine operator and worked on the entrance gates to the Olympic Park.

“Despite working long hours providing vital security for the Olympic Games, it was a fantastic and proud moment, meeting the very friendly and supportive members of the public,” he said.

Richard said the support he has received from family and friends was vital in making his RNR career as enjoyable as it is.

He said: “It is a huge commitment that not only affects you but also your family. They are very proud and supportive of my role in the RNR.”

He said the positives far outweighed any difficulties and encouraged anyone who is eligible to give serious thought to joining RNR, as the possibilities were endless.

“I am proud to be able to say that I am a member of the RNR. It is an incredible experience and opportunity that I would recommend to anybody,” said Richard.