A BURY teenager joined a group of the top Armed Forces cadets from across the UK in a tough test of his leadership skills.

Ryan Harper, who is a member of Bury Grammar School's Combined Cadet Force, was one of 102 high calibre cadets to take part in the Cadet Leadership Course held at Nesscliffe Training Camp, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, earlier this month.

The cadets, who are aged between 16 and 18, are drawn from all three services; the Army Cadet Force, the Air Training Corps and the Sea Cadet Corps, as well as the Combined Cadet Force. They were nominated by their commanding officers.

The cadets spent the week taking part in various challenging tasks to give them a chance to show off their skills, including command tasks, section and platoon attacks, setting up vehicle checkpoints, map-reading, first-aid, cooking in the field and dealing with the media in a hostile environment.

Lance Corporal Harper (16) has been in the cadets for three years and says he joined because his brother suggested it.

He said: "I've had so many great experiences in the cadets and this course has been one of them. Every member of our section has worked so well together. You just go for it and even if it all goes wrong you have a laugh.

"I've learnt basic medicine, map reading skills and media skills, which I didn't have before. Using weapons also brings a better understanding of them and, with that, comes a greater respect for them. People think that the army is just all about combat, but it's not. I'd like to go to university and study modern languages. Then I'd like to come back to the army and be a linguist."