DEDICATION and hard work has paid off for a Reedley man who has just passed out as a Royal Marine Commando.
Pte Thomas Clarke (23) of Massey Lane was one of just a handful of newly titled men and women who will now be deployed around the globe following the intense training.
The former Nelson and Colne College public services’ student was based at the Lympstone Training Centre in Devon for 32 weeks before qualifying at the passing out ceremony watched on by his proud family.
Pte Clarke follows in his elder brother’s army footsteps, Graham (31), who passed out from prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, at the age of 19. He now serves as a Major in the army and has been deployed to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pte Clarke who is a former pupil of Habergham High School, Burnley, was previous to this a freelance gardener with a love of sport and the outdoors.
The Royal Marines has the longest basic infantry training course of any NATO combat troops and while there it was a test of Pte Clarke’s endurance and skill.
And as part of the selection process he had to complete a rigorous course in which he finished in first place – and even ahead of the physical training instructor.
His proud mum Anne said: “It’s such an achievement and Thomas has the potential for doing a lot in the Marines. Myself and his dad Peter are so proud of him. A lot of people fall by the wayside and a high percentage do not get through but Thomas loved it.”
While training he also obtained key qualifications and skills.
Anne added: “Thomas was the only marine to put weight on during training but has enjoyed every minute of it - even the 30 mile endurance run carrying 40 kilos on his back!”
Pte Clarke is now looking forward to some relaxing time over the Christmas period with family and friends before being posted to Scotland.