Former soldier and Ipswich councillor Alasdair Ross challenges reporter to climb-off on Reserves Day 2016

Ipswich councillor Alasdair Ross leaves reporter Gemma Mitchell for dust on military climbing wall o

Ipswich councillor Alasdair Ross leaves reporter Gemma Mitchell for dust on military climbing wall outside the borough council offices in Russell Road. - Credit: Archant

When I was asked to go head-to-head on a military climbing wall with a man who served in the Army for 26 years, I didn’t think I stood much of a chance.

And my fears were not misplaced as Ipswich borough councillor Alasdair Ross, who fought in Afghanistan in 2009, left me for dust during the “friendly” climb-off.

The challenge was arranged yesterday to mark National Reserves Day, which aims to recognise and celebrate the key role reservists play in protecting the UK’s security both at home and abroad.

Army representatives were on hand outside Ipswich Borough Council’s base in Russell Road to speak to working people and employers about the contribution reservists make, not only to the country but also to an organisation.

WO2 Rob Drake, project support warrant officer based in Ipswich, said: “Team work is one of the biggest benefits, as well as leadership and confidence – all good skills that you can bring to a workplace.

Mayor of Ipswich Roger Fern having a go on the climbing wall for Reserves Day 2016.

Mayor of Ipswich Roger Fern having a go on the climbing wall for Reserves Day 2016. - Credit: Archant

“It gives you the opportunity to go out there and do things you wouldn’t usually do. We do skiing and scuba diving once a year, people get to travel and it’s something to talk about.

“Some people don’t want to join the regular Army but they want to reach out more to something beneficial to their life.”

Most Read

Executive councillor Mr Ross, who served as a regular for 25 years and spent one year as a reservist, said people who have had experience in the forces bring a “will do” attitude to any job they do.

He added: “Soldiers will make do if they need to, nothing phases them. If something goes wrong they will work a way round it, find a solution, and the skills they learn as a reservist benefit any sort of employer – self- discipline, getting a job done on their own, emergency planning. Plus they have pride, a lot of confidence and self respect.”

Reservists serve across the Royal Navy, Army and RAF, balancing their personal and working life with a military career by training in their spare time.

In recent years reservists have supported operations worldwide including in Afghanistan, Northern Iraq, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and as part of the UK’s effort to tackle Ebola in Sierra Leone.