A dream came true for a single mum of 3 when she joined the Royal Air Force Reserves.
Now, just 6 weeks after completing her basic training, Aircraftwoman Sarah McGhin, from Sunderland, is braving sub-zero temperatures in the Norwegian mountains of Telemark.
She is one of 48 RAF reservists from across the UK selected to train in the near Arctic conditions. Sarah said:
It sounds really silly but I don’t like the cold and I don’t like the snow but I thought I would push myself to see how far I could go and see if I would actually enjoy it, and I have up to now.
Sarah now combines her day job of working in the office of Sunderland recycling company Alex Smiles Ltd with her RAF commitments.
She is the newest member of 609 Squadron based at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire, where she is training to be an administrator on the RAF Regiment squadron.
However, it was not until she made enquiries about becoming an RAF reservist that she was delighted to discover that it was possible to balance family and work life with a second career in the famous blue uniform.
I was under the impression that I wouldn’t be able to manage joining the reserves, having the kids and being on my own, but it was just a dream that I wanted to follow and I pushed it, and here I am.
Asked what advice she would give someone in the same position as her, she said:
Don’t give up on your dreams of doing anything like this. The opportunities are massive and don’t be scared to take them. Just go for it and you’ll enjoy it like I am, you really will.
Exercise Wintermarch has seen male and female reservists of all ages, including gunners, intelligence analysts, administrators, nurses and logisticians, learning how to Nordic ski, survive avalanches and prevent cold weather injuries.
The organiser, Squadron Leader Paul Chegwidden, said:
Our main aims are to give reservists the opportunity to travel, experience another culture and do things that will challenge them; taking them outside their normal civilian environment and comfort zone.
Today’s reservists work shoulder-to-shoulder with regulars on operations, and training exercises like this are a really great way to push people to their limits.
The RAF Reserves are recruiting now; for more information about the jobs available visit their website.