Chesterfield Army Reservist swapped the sofa for the sky in life changing move

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A Chesterfield-based Reservist has described how joining the Army Reserve has allowed him to go from being one of the most in-active people he knew to learning to parachute jump.

Lance Corporal Stephen Nightingale, 27, serves with 350 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) at Wallis Barracks in Chesterfield, and is set to take the next step in his part-time career by conducting a number of parachute jumps.

The parachute jumps will be conducted as part of a Basic Parachute Course at RAF Brize Norton No 1 Parachute School so he can qualify to serve with military airborne forces.

The basic parachute course will involve Stephen jumping from a C-130 aircraft on six occasions using a low level parachute at heights of between 600 and 1000 feet.

To get to this stage Stephen has completed a parachute selection course meaning he is eligible to wear the coveted maroon beret. On successful completion of the course he will also be able to wear the parachute wings on his uniform and potentially be deployed on operations alongside airborne soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade.

In his civilian life Stephen works full-time as a Live Well adviser at Derby City Council, and explained that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the skills he has gained through his training.

He said: “In 2011, I decided I needed to make a change in my life. I was unfit, never took part in any sports and did no outdoor activities. I saw a recruiting banner in Chesterfield and thought I might as well give it a go.

“Joining the Army Reserve has allowed me to change my lifestyle completely. I have literally gone from being what could be described as a couch potato to now being the physical training instructor at the unit. I’ve put my all into my training and have embraced the opportunity to improve my health through fitness at the same time.”

“After realising that I enjoyed working out and that my motivation and confidence had improved through exercising, I decided I needed career change. So in 2014 I gave up my old job and started training as a personal trainer. Qualifying later that year, I worked in a Derby City Council gym before applying for my current job.”