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We had a full house for our first Rural Experience Week commissioned by the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity and funded by Greenwich Hospital which started at Bicton on 23rd October.

8 serving personnel from the Royal Navy and 2 Royal Marines joined us for 5 days of sunshine and showers and another fantastic Rural Experience timetables put together by the incomparable Chris Shepherd.

Monday was spent in the company of Tony Goodridge from Unique Projects as he delivered sessions on the art of paving and walling which brought out the competitive element in everyone – never far beneath the surface amongst military personnel..!

Tuesday’s groups were split between rope access in the Park with Matt and Kirsty from Hi-Line and plant operations with Steve Boden using the College’s fine collection of equipment from Holt JCB.

Wednesday’s groups spent time with Ian and Dan from Parmenter Forge when everyone forged their own poppy, and Forest School with Ralph from The Outdoors Group.

A visit to the College farm to meet the dairy cows was a gentle end to Wednesday and in no time, it was Thursday!

Matt and Kirsty returned to deliver a day of 1st Aid + F which everyone passed.

This is a really useful qualification for anyone who aspires to work in the land-based sector and after the intense day’s training, Rob Batson’s warm welcome to meet the horses at Budleigh Salterton was a great way to relax.

Our wonderful friend Phil Sampson from Sampson Hall brought a visitor with him on Friday morning and everyone enjoyed meeting Don Armand – Phil’s sessions never fail to motivate and inspire.

We offer our thanks to everyone who presented, hosted, and spoke and to Greenwich Hospital whose generous funding made this week possible.

Last Word goes to two of our participants:

It was a great change of pace from work and just an enjoyable experience.


Valuable lifeskills I will certainly use again.

Click here for more information on future events.