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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Fifteen sign up for armed forces

A West Cumbrian woman has become the first person in her family to enlist in the army.

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RECRUITS: From left, Abbie Lewthwaite, Kurt McCracken, Kieran McAleavey, Jason Hetherington, James Taylor, Karl Hewartson and Adam Heslop

Abbie Lewthwaite, 18, of Bankside, Distington, will start her training as an Royal Logistic Corps driver at Pirbright, Surrey, on June 25.

Abbie, an ex-Southfield Technology College student, swore her oath to Queen and country with 15 recruits from around Cumbria at the Washington Central Hotel in Workington last Thursday.

She was watched by her mum Mary, sister Carlene and niece Lexi-Jo Sanson.

Abbie said: “I’m doing this because I want to better myself, I’m up for a challenge and it’s great experience.

“I was studying health and social care at college and really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I joined up last January. I’ve been doing a lot of running and training to get myself ready for when I start next month.

“It will be hard leaving family and friends but it’s a chance that I can’t give up.”

Carlene, 26, of Grasmere Avenue, Workington, said: “I’m just glad she’s doing something with her life because there are so few opportunities for youngsters round here. We’re all really proud of her.”

Kieran McAleavey, 19, of Poole Road, Salterbeck, was the second person in his family to join the army.

His dad Mark, 47, was a driver for Royal Corps Transport based in countries such as Northern Ireland and Germany for 14 years.

Kieran was watched by a proud Mark and his mum Jackie, 43.

He will begin his training for the Royal Engineers in Pirbright on May 21.

Kieran said: “My dad was in the army and always spoke of it really highly and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve joined up. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Among the other recruits at the ceremony were Kurt McCracken, 22, of Ling Road, Seaton, who is joining the Royal Logistics Corps; James Taylor, 21, of High Brigham, who is joining the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; and Jason Hetherington, 18, of Mart Close, Aspatria, who will join the Royal Engineers.

The ceremony was conducted by Major Graeme Hynds, area recruiting officer for Cumbria, and speeches were given by Workington mayor Joe Holliday and Carlisle mayor Barry Earp.

The recruits were each presented with a certificate.

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