AFTER racing miles carrying logs weighing the same as a fully grown woman and lugging heavy equipment over arduous terrain a Vale teenager has become a member of the elite Airbourne Forces.

Private Michael Jennings, from Sedgeberrow, near Evesham, has been celebrating after successfully completing his British Army Training.

The 17-year-old and former pupil of Evesham High School finished his training on February 28 when he officially passed out from Infantry Training Centre at Catterick Garris in North Yorkshire, where he joined 764 Rhine Platoon PARA Company.

Private Jennings joined the army aged 16 after passing the entrance tests at the Armed Forces Careers Office Worcester and Lichfield.

He completed two phases of training including a log race event carrying a log weighing 60 kgs over 1.9 miles within 18 minutes. He also took part in a steeple chase of 1.8 miles cross country followed by an assault course within 18 minutes, also completing 10 and 20 mile tabs forced marches carrying 35 LBS plus water and weapon over arduous terrain against the clock.

During this period Private Jennings smashed many training records scoring the highest points that can be awarded earning him the accolade of P Company Champion, for this he received the Pegasus Company Shield.

He was also presented with an engraved silver tankard presented to him by Lieutenant Colonel Sherrington, Commanding Officer 3 PARA.

Private Jennings, who will soon join 2 PARA based at Colchester, said: "Joining the Army was the best thing I have done and would recommend the Army and the life style that goes with it to anyone.

"It will definitely stretch you to the limit and will present daily challenges which can be exhausting, that said, it’s well worth it when you see how much you have achieved and grown as a person, you not only to gain a career you gain a second family with new friends for life.

"I am now ready and eager to serve my country and to put into practice what I have learnt."

Cyndy Jennings, Private Jennings' mum, said: "As a family we are extremely proud of what Michael has achieved and will continue to support him through his Army career."