A group of seven sprucely turned-out young men and one woman swore their allegiance to queen and country at a special ceremony at Luton Town Hall yesterday.
The eight new recruits were praised by Major Geoff Woodcock of the Royal Signals as “eloquent and confident candidates” who would now be joining the Army family.
Watched by their proud parents, the aspiring soldiers received their certificates from Luton mayor Cllr Sid Knight.
They included four young people from Luton, one from Dunstable, one from Bedford and two from Hemel Hempstead.
The only girl in the group, 18-year-old Jodie Bradley from Broughton Avenue, Luton, has her heart set on becoming a military police woman.
The former Icknield pupil said: “I’ve been thinking about it for three years.
“It’s a really good career move. There are so many different opportunities for travel and progressing up the ranks.
“As a military police officer, promotion prospects are really good.” She added: “I had thought about joining the police but the army offers the best of both worlds.”
It will be Jodie’s first time away from home and she admitted: “I’m going to miss my little dog Millie, who’s a cross Chihuahua/Jack Russell.
“But I’ll also miss my mum and dad and grandad and sister, who’s studying law.”
Curtis Lewis, 16, of Tower Road in Luton has the Royal Artillery in his sights.
“I wanted to be a soldier when I was younger, but I only really looked into it when I was in Year 11,” he said.
“I’m the first in my family to join the Forces but they’ve all been very supportive.”
Curtis claimed he couldn’t wait to start training and wasn’t scared by the thought of fighting: “It’s just one big adrenalin rush.”
Sixteen-year-old Jack Stone of Evelyn Road in Dunstable described signing on for the 1st Royal Tank Regiment as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” He said: “I’m looking forward to training and learning new skills, the sort of things you won’t learn anywhere else.
“Most kids want to join the army. I went to the careers office and it spiralled from there.”
The former Queensbury student admitted the thought of going to Afghanistan was a bit scary: “But I’m up for it.”
> For more information on joining the British Arny visit http://www.army.mod.uk/join/21445.aspx