From campus to Kosovo

October 22, 1999

Officer cadet Katy O'Brien, 20, in her final year at Exeter University reading geography, joined the OTC at the freshers' fair.

"Skydiving and climbing out of icy crevasses certainly tested my nerve. It has given me the opportunity to do things I never thought I could do," she says.

Katy applied to the army for a short servicecommission before her second year. Having passed, she is sponsored for Pounds 500 a term.

She has always been a keen sportswoman and has represented the army in swimming and triathlon. She will begin her training at Sandhurst in 2000 and hopes to join the Royal Engineers.

Officer cadet Nicki Blackmun, 23, read electrical engineering and business management at York University. She joined the armyat 16 and did herA levels at Welbeck College, the army sixth-form college whereshe was in the first intake of girls.

The stress of training so intensively while she was growing resulted in her breaking her leg in three places. "I always wanted to keep up with the lads," she says.

When she went to York she wanted to join the OTC but could not because she was selected for the university's first hockey team and could not commit to both.

In her second year she won sponsorship from British Telecom but, having completed her degree, opted for a career in the army.

Having passed the Regular Commissions Board, she came to Sandhurst in January. She will graduate in December and hopes to go to Kosovo with the Royal Engineers.

AS

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