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Rochdale army officer achieves academic dream

11 December 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

First-class degree for Gary who took study break to serve in Afghanistan

 

A Rochdale Army officer who took a break from his studies to serve in Afghanistan has achieved his academic dream with a first class degree from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston.

Warrant Officer Gary Rothwell has 24 years’ service under his belt after joining the British Army aged 16 with three GCSEs. Now the 39-year-old, who this year represented England at the Kettlebells World Championships, has been awarded a BSc (Hons) in Strength and Conditioning from UCLan after completing the course via distance learning.

He commented: “Through the Army I qualified as a civil engineer but I’ve always had a passion for sport and played rugby when I was younger. I was particularly interested in the strength and conditioning side of things so when I spotted the UCLan course I was keen to apply."

 

" I am delighted to get a first class degree; I always push myself to do my best and because I was so interested in the subject it never felt like a chore to study hard.”

Gary continued: “I took eight months out of my studies to serve in Afghanistan but my tutors were really supportive and helped me get back into things when I came back. I am delighted to get a first class degree; I always push myself to do my best and because I was so interested in the subject it never felt like a chore to study hard.”

Gary’s degree in strength and conditioning has helped his sporting efforts. He only took up kettlebell training in March of this year and by July he had qualified to represent England.

“I came sixth in Kettlebells World Championships which I couldn’t believe” he said. “Having knowledge of how strength and conditioning training works really helps as a big part of it is being able to minimise the risk of injury. The competition tests how many weight repetitions you can do in ten minutes.”

 

“I want to work with local clubs covering all kinds of sports. I’m looking forward to being my own boss and putting all of my efforts into making the business work.”

Keen student Gary has even managed to secure a mentor after contacting Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for British Triathlon Ian Pyper, who works with the Brownlee brothers, and asking him for some help.

Gary commented: “He’s been really obliging. We chat monthly over the phone and he gives me advice. Ian’s also invited me to Loughborough to watch some of the training sessions with the elite athletes that we works with. That kind of experience is invaluable.”

Gary is due to leave the Army next summer and already has he sights on setting up his own business in strength and conditioning. Gary added: “I want to work with local clubs covering all kinds of sports. I’m looking forward to being my own boss and putting all of my efforts into making the business work.”