A COUNCILLOR will soon be undergoing basic training after joining the Fusiliers Regiment as a reservist.

Cllr Gareth Staples-Jones, who represents Radcliffe West for Labour, has officially transferred to Whisky Company of the Fifth Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, from his old unit, the Queen’s Own Yeomanry, based in Wigan.

After saving the life of an elderly woman suffering a stroke in Chester using his first aid training, Cllr Staples-Jones was awarded a commanding officer's commendation from his old regiment.

Following this incident, Cllr Staples-Jones contacted the Fusiliers, requesting to join the regiment to be nearer to home.

He said: “A lot of people get into local politics to serve their local community, but being a member of the Army is a whole different responsibility to one’s country.

“If you’re a boy or girl from Bury you’ve hear all the stories about the Fusiliers, grown up going to the museum probably, so it is a big part of your local culture.

“It made sense to me to join the Fusiliers as a way not just of serving my country, but staying true to my community, and the values my mother taught me.

“My mother started out as a chef in the Women’s Army Corps and 21 years later she was a sergeant and a weapons trainer and taught me a lot of lessons about discipline.

"My mum is incredibly glad that I’m now local, instead of having to trek all the way to Wigan at the weekends to train with the Yeomanry.

“I couldn’t be prouder to join a regiment full of such brave men and women and it will be the honour of a lifetime to train and possibly, serve with them.

“The possibility of going into a warzone is hard to contemplate, but if I’m ever asked to step up and stand alongside my new mates, I won’t hesitate.”

After his first drill at Castle Armoury, Cllr Staples-Jones will undergo six weeks of training at Altcar Training Camp in Liverpool and will go on to attend training camps in Chipworth, Catterick, Salisbury Plain and Otterburn.