TALENTED young footballers were put through their paces at a military training day.
Teenagers from Sunderland AFC Youth Academy travelled on a fast-attack craft, raced Marines up a 50ft climbing wall and underwent night-sight target training as part of the all-day event.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, 18, from Washington, said: “It is something I was really looking forward to. It’s not everyday you get to do these kind of things. It was good experience.”
Centre-half Jordan Lavender, 18, from Newton Hall, near Durham City, said the sessions gave the up-and-coming footballers the chance to test their fitness.
“It gets us out and about and is a break from the day-to-day training that we do,” said the former pupil at Framwellgate School.
“But we’re all in pretty good shape, so we coped okay.”
Guided by the Royal Marines Commando Recruiting Team, the squads, which included students from Durham New College, also learnt about weapons and unarmed combat, as well as leadership skills.
“It is the first time I’ve done anything like this,” said right-back Andrew Cartwright, 17, from Newcastle.
“It was hard work, but enjoyable at the same time.”
Lieutenant Dave Concarr, organising careers adviser, said the week-long drive at the Royal Marines Reserves Tyne headquarters, in Newcastle, proved a hit with the young people.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to get just a small taste of the discipline, fitness and challenge of being a Royal Marine,” he said.
“We were delighted to be visiting Newcastle and are pleased that there has been such interest in our Meet the Marines week.
“This event is specifically designed for young people to be able to get a taster of what we do and, for those who are considering a career in the armed forces, it is an invaluable insight which may help them to make decisions about their future.”
In total, more than 450 students from 12 different sixth-form colleges and further education colleges took part.
“The Royal Marines are one of the world’s elite fighting forces and their presence is felt in land and sea campaigns globally,” added Lt Concarr.
“Royal Marines continue to serve as part of the UK’s fighting force in Afghanistan, but it is perhaps less known that they are also involved alongside their Royal Navy counterparts at sea in both counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations, particularly in the Caribbean and the Gulf areas.”