John Reeves

Third week of training

Hi my name is John. I left school at the age of 16 and went straight into the Army in September 1976, joining JPC (Junior Parachute Company) and left the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment in August 1987. I served two tours of Northern Ireland, fought in the Falklands war in 1982 and was with the UN (United Nations) in Cyprus in 1986.

I was injured on exercise at Longmoor in Hampshire in 1983 whilst setting up a booby trap. The detonator that we were using prematurely exploded and the aluminium casing penetrated my right eye, right hand and chest causing me to lose the sight in my right eye. I had seven operations over 2 years trying to restore my sight but to no avail. I still carried on serving with 3 Para still parachuting and in a rifle company until August 1987 when I left the services.

I have been a member of Blesma for over 15 years and have been lucky to have been involved in many challenging pursuits including cycling events such as mountain biking in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, scuba diving in Egypt, skydiving, skibobbing etc. When Blesma asked if I wanted to be involved in This Is Not For You, I leapt at the chance, another challenge and something completely out of my comfort zone. It was also a chance to give something back to Blesma and advertise such a fantastic ex forces charity that has helped and supported me greatly over the years.

I arrived to our third training session to the guys already doing their stretching exercises. We then did a round of circuit training to get our bodies warmed up to what turned out for me to be the best session so far. This time it was more structured, breaking down our movements into a logical sequence to get on the equipment more gracefully and with less effort. Better ways of getting to a standing position from sitting and different ways to get back down to sitting and holding different shapes depending on ability and disability for 15 seconds to a graceful dismount. I consider myself fairly fit but by the end of the day I was aching in parts that have never ached before, definitely a very good work out. I am very much looking forward to our next session, thank you Layla, Charlie and Michael our trainers at the NCCA.

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