Back to alumni stories
Tiomothy Partridge - Aberdovey, Wales, 1978
I remember being delighted to hear my father had secured funds from the Variety Club (a bursary) so I could attend the three week course at Aberdovey as soon as I finished my O levels. I was already fascinated by the military and was keen to join the Army, so this course would be a good taster! (both my brothers had been before so I knew something of what to expect) - though the early morning swim was much colder that I could have imagined from their anecdotes. I was in Shackleton Group and had a fantastic time, though it took a few days to settle into the communal living. I was determined to do something well and so made a massive effort to win the cross country run - one of the early competitions where we were pitted against one another. I loved abseiling and Rock climbing . The canoeing and cutters were also incredible but it was the sense of community which I found most valuable. We had a few people who needed some support to get through some of the physical (and emotional) stuff and I was in my element helping them. I recall messing up the solo expedition as I got completely soaked on day one and one of my colleagues turned up and kind of blew the whole thing. I remember feeling really bad that we had let our instructor down (Tony Parkinson). However the expedition that followed was incredible and I was awe stuck by the scenery of Cader Idris . Just three years later I was a soldier and putting lots of what I learned to good use - the grit and determination to hang on in there , to support colleagues and simply to realise that we all have something to offer was invaluable. I remember thinking back to the solo 36 hour expedition as I headed out on my first major field exercise - when I would not sleep in a bed for ten weeks - its was bivvy bags or bust for me and every meal out of doors!... I aspired to do well and kept up the cross country running winning a few competitions with my unit. I was keen to get on a major expedition - missing out on a place for the 1984 Joint Services Expedition to Brabant Island...due to lack of experience but I went on to be a ski instructor in our ski hut in Bavaria and raced for my unit at downhill and cross country. My work post military was in the security industry and then luckily I fell into charity work and have been there for the last 30 years. I have lived in France and worked mostly with people with disabilities or terminal illness in various roles. I now spend my days at a desk managing digital products.....miles from a mountain or the sea....but deep down inside I would rather be sitting atop Cader Idris any day of the week.