A Royal Navy reservist from Hartlepool says joining the services “gave me a new lease of life”.
Gill Niblock, of the Reserve unit HMS Wildfire, is currently deployed to the EU Naval Force mission Operation Atalanta, in Djibouti.
The former High Tunstall Comprehensive pupil, now a Royal Navy Reserve (RNR) Lieutenant Commander, is responsible for supporting a fleet of European naval vessels and aircraft which conduct anti-piracy operations off the horn of Africa.
To mark Reserves Day today she has spoken about becoming a reservist.
While working as a product manager for a software company, Gill joined the RNR.
Using the skills from her civilian job, she then took the opportunity to work full time for the regional command headquarters in London as a Business Manager, at the age of 37.
Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career so when their country requires them, they would be ready to serve.
She said: “I joined because I was looking for something more from life. I wondered if I should have followed a career in the Royal Navy.
“Someone then suggested to me that I could have the best of both worlds, taking my civilian skills to the Reserves and in turn learning new skills to bring back to my civilian job. It very quickly gave me a new lease of life.”
She added: “My degree in French has never been so tested and it is a real pleasure to put my language skills to such good use in this environment.”
Reservists make up a sixth of the armed forces.