A Royal Navy recruit who lost a whopping five stone to achieve her dream of joining up has successfully completed her basic training.
Trainee Navy dental nurse Melissa Beer, from Loscoe, was among the successful recruits to celebrate the end of an intensive ten-week training programme, watched by her proud family and friends.
Melissa, 24, was inspired to join the Royal Navy by her grandfather, David Wilcock, who is a former sailor.
The former Heanor Gate Science College pupil said: “When I was little my granddad used to tell me all his stories. I knew however I was unfit, so I had to get fit and lose weight – it was my dream to join.”
In 2012 Melissa signed up for intense fitness sessions to help her achieve her goal. She also swapped her normal diet for healthy food.
She managed to reduce her weight from 15st 9lbs to 10st 12lbs to meet the Royal Navy’s entry standards of fitness.
Melissa, who previously worked as a clinical and optical assistant, was finally accepted and reported to HMS Raleigh in May to start training.
She said: “Day one at HMS Raleigh was quite scary. I was so nervous walking in, it all just felt unreal. Back then if I had known what I’d have to do over the last ten weeks I’d have thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’ve achieved things I thought I never would.
“The 22-mile trek around Dartmoor carrying a heavy bag was fun but hard work too.”
During the course Melissa has felt herself becoming even fitter. She said: “When I started I couldn’t climb ropes and then during my PT pass-out I managed to do that too.”
Fitness is a key component of Navy training and is delivered through a strict schedule which focuses on developing co-ordination, physical strength and endurance.
As the course progressed Melissa and the recruits took part in three extended exercises to test their skills and understanding of the principles they have been taught.
Melissa’s parents, her brothers and sisters, and her grandparents, including grandad David, travelled to HMS Raleigh, Cornwall, to see her complete the course.
She said: “My family are really proud, and they sent me messages of support all the way through.”
With the first phase of her training complete at HMS Raleigh, Melissa will now learn her profession as a dental nurse. But she has ambitions to return to HMS Raleigh in the future.
She said: “I’d like to make it to petty officer and train to become one of the divisional staff so I can help the new recruits that come through.
“The staff here have been amazing. There have been times when I thought that I wouldn’t make it through something and they’ve really supported me.
“I’d like to say a really big thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way and to everyone who have supported me. Losing the weight has helped me achieve my dream.”