The short version.
I was desperate to be a tennis player like my dad but at the age of 19, after 5 years on the international circuit, we came to the disturbing realisation I was truly horrible at playing tennis. Thankfully just a few years later, I realised I was a lot better at being cold, wet and carrying heavy bags than playing tennis - this turned out to be a skill set the British Army were looking for.
THE LONGER VERSION.
I was born and raised on the South coast of England, near a town called Lewes, this is where I spent the vast majority of my youth breaking my arms from climbing trees and ill fated attempts at building go-karts. I was lucky enough to have one older sister/tormentor who continues to keep me in line to this day. Both my parents were involved in sport, with my mother waterskiing for South Africa and my Father being a full time tennis player and then later a coach. From a young age we constantly had tennis players sleeping on our couch, this clearly appealed to me as I took up the game seriously at the age of 11 and was determined to follow in the old mans footsteps. After 5 years on the international circuit (and a lot of sleeping on peoples couches), I called time on my assault on the professional game, and headed to the USA on a tennis scholarship to Boise State University in Idaho.
I spent four incredible years in Boise where I fostered my second dream of becoming a Country music legend, sadly this was an astoundingly short lived dream when it became evident I could neither sing or even master a single chord on the guitar. It was during this time that my passion for the outdoors unleashed on the playground of the Pacific Northwest of America, and I began Mountaineering with the American Alpine Institute whenever my tennis commitments allowed.
I had wanted to join the Army ever since I was a little boy, and when my tennis career had ended I knew that was where my future was headed. The recruiting office had different ideas as my lack of UCAS points, thanks to leaving school after GCSE's to pursue tennis, meant I was ineligible to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Adamant I was going to find a way in, I set an alarm for 1100am every day and phoned the review office in between lectures at the University of Sussex. This is where I was completing my Graduate Diploma in Law just in case they really were dead set on this UCAS business. After 7 months and a grand total of 11 official rejection letters I think they got so sick of me they decided to let me attend the Officer selection board, and I commissioned into the Royal Gurkha Rifles in December 2015.
Serving with the Gurkhas has been one of the most special experiences of my life. They are some of the finest soldiers in the world but also some of the most likeable. I was fortunate enough to be posted to 1 RGR based in the not so Polar regions of Brunei - this is where we will be based until July 2017 when we head back to the UK.