People from across the county have the chance to learn about the training and activities the town’s locally-based soldiers undertake at an open day.
The gates of the Clare Street Army Reserve Centre in Northampton, home to 118 Recovery Company and members of C (Leicestershire and Northamptonshire) Company 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, will be open to members of the public from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday (June 1).
Private Laura Poulson, 25, will be one of the soldiers welcoming visitors to the open day.
A personal trainer in civilian life, she joined the Army Reserve three years ago.
She said: “I was in the Army cadets and was planning to become a cadet instructor when someone told me about the Army Reserves.
“I didn’t know that there was such a thing. I thought you had to be a regular or nothing.
“I knew it was the right thing for me. I get to ‘do’ rather than just teach.”
Laura has made the most of her short time as a part-time soldier, including skiing in Australia and Germany.
She said: “I’d never been skiing before, its extremely expensive to go as a civilian.
“When the chance came up I grabbed it with both hands.
“I also had the chance to go sailing, but the dates didn’t fit around my life outside the Army Reserve, but I’m hoping to go this year.
“I’m going rowing in June and I want to play netball next season.”
Visitors to the day will be able to meet chefs, vehicle mechanics and combat infantry soldiers as well as Armed Forces cadets who will have a climbing wall on display while the Sea Cadets will display a boat.
The day will be interspersed with music from Northampton Air Training Corps and demonstrations from 118 Recovery Company who will show the recovery of an upturned vehicle using a 30-ton support recovery vehicle.
Kit and equipment used by the Army Reserves will be on display including personal weapons and a 15-ton cargo carrying vehicle often seen in Afghanistan to move life-support including ammunition and food to frontline troops.
As well as gaining new skills the Northampton Reserves offer a wide range of travel and work opportunities.
Craftsman Paul Smith, 40, from Weston Favell in Northampton will be working in Kenya next month at the British Army Training Unit based in Nanuki.
A vehicle recovery mechanic, he will assist in maintaining the vehicles used by visiting British troops on exercise.
He said: “This will be the third time I’ve gone out to work.
“It’s great. And its not all work, we get down time when we can go off and visit different places and go on safari.
“How many people get the chance to work in Africa?
“Driving across Kenya certainly beats driving on the M6.”
Craftsman Dan Ryan, 26, served in Afghanistan as a vehicle recovery mechanic.
He said: “I’ve got all my driving licences through the Army including my car licence.”
Married to Zoey with two children, Elizabeth, two, and one0week-old Charlotte, he advised people to go along to the open day to find out more.
He said: “You won’t gain anything if you don’t take that initial step.
“If you come along and think actually its not for me then at least you’ve given it a go.
“There are tough times, like training in the winter when you are outside in the cold.
“You do ask yourself why you do it. But you all have a good moan and then forget it.
“It’s the good times you remember and find you are still talking about years later.”
Captain Bill Reeder added: “We invite everyone to come along, say ‘Hello’ and find out a bit more about what their local soldiers and cadets are up to.”
Anyone who would like to find out more about Northampton’s Army Reserve can contact the Reserve Centre on 01604 635760.
Further information can also be found on the British Army website or log onto the East Midlands Army Reserve and Cadets website at www.eastmidlandsrfca.co.uk.