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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



01 December 2017

The autumn marked the much anticipated annual Exercise Medical Challenge. This year hosted by 253 (NI) Medical Regiment alongside other Reservists from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, it is a 2 day “look at life” event which provides civilian professionals from the Healthcare sector with a team building challenge in which they compete in military, medical and leadership activities. 

The main aim of the exercise is to attract professionally qualified personnel into the Royal Navy, Army and RAF reserves, giving them an insight into the various options available to them. However, it also serves a greater purpose in building good working relationships with the HSC Trusts and gaining a deeper understanding from employers of current Reservists.

The event itself was loosely based upon citizenAID™, the smartphone app (, which was designed by both military and civilian personnel to guide the public on how to respond safely and effectively in an emergency situation. Participants were split up into groups and assigned with a mentor and combat medic or paramedic for the duration of the exercise. They spent the 2 days participating in activities at various stands set up around Ballykinler Training Camp, with a buffet meal and social event on the Saturday evening, finishing up with a fun sports day on the Sunday to blow out the cobwebs from the night before! The weekend concluded with a prize giving ceremony where 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes were given to the top scoring teams. Craigavon Area Hospital/Western Health & Social Care Trust and Whiteabbey Hospital/Royal Victoria Hospital were close contenders, coming 2nd and 3rd respectively, but it was Lagan Valley Hospital who stole the limelight, coming in 1st overall.

As always, a fantastic weekend was had by all, both military and civilian alike. The Army Reserve “work hard, play hard” ethos left most exhausted but extremely proud of their individual and team efforts, with many going home having learnt a lot about themselves and their colleagues.