Former Sidmouth College pupils fly in to inspire youngsters
PUBLISHED: 15:20 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:21 15 May 2019
Sidmouth College alumni flew in to give students a close-up experience of life in the Royal Navy.
Former students and now navy pilots Alex Hampson and Bob Bond flew onto the field during break time on Thursday, watched on by hundreds of students.
Those in years seven, 10, 11, 12 and 13 had a chance to meet the pair and their team, explore the £40million helicopter and find out about work and possible career opportunities.
Lieutenant Commander Hampson, who left the school in 2000, said; "It's the first time Bob has been back here.
"For us it's an emotional reunion, we haven't been back for a long time. It's something we planned together.
"I had never even considered it [being in the navy]. It was when I started going through the interview process. I never imagined I would end up here.
Commander Bond added: "It's been lovely coming back here, it seems so much smaller, but maybe that's because I was smaller then. I did my A-levels and then joined the navy.
I've known since I was about four. My grandfather was in the navy and I was taken along to a hanger and looked at all the aircrafts.
The way we have both turned up in the same place but through different routes it shows you do not necessarily need to be interested when you are four, it can be that someday it seems like a route you wish to explore."
Nicola Young, careers co-ordinator for the college, said: "He [Alex] wanted to come in to school to help us to do some careers input with some of our students to just give them an idea what is like working on a helicopter or what it is like to have a job in the navy or the marines.
"I think it is about meeting people who are out in the world outside education and finding out about different roles they can do. Some of them [the students] might not know yet what they want to do so to research and to explore different career options and there are hundreds of jobs within the military you can do, not just working on the front line."
Principal Sarah Parsons added: "I think this is a fantastic opportunity for our students."