NEWS

MAY 18TH 2017

“I’m proud of my rowing achievements to date”

Lou in action at the Womans Head of the River Race. She's seated at six wearing a headband and sunglasses

Lou in action at the Womans Head of the River Race. She's seated at six wearing a headband and sunglasses

A mother of two who became a reservist to embrace a new challenge is encouraging others to get involved, particularly if they have a love of sport.

Senior Aircraft Woman Lou Elkington, aged 54, lives with her family on a farm in Lincolnshire and decided to join the RAF’s Intelligence Reserves after speaking to a friend at a family party around seven years ago.

Lou explained: “My friend had previously served as a regular in the RAF, but is now working as a full-time reservist in a recruiting team. I’d not really heard of the reserves before but she made it sound really exciting and interesting, so after giving it some thought, I decided that joining up could be the change of direction I had been looking for.”

Serving with an image analysis squadron, Lou has learnt all the skills she needs to carry out her role by completing a series of specific training courses.

Lou continued: “I’d certainly encourage others to join the RAF Reserve as I have learnt a whole new set of skills. In my day job I work on our family farm which I love, but it’s great to be able to also do something completely different and challenge myself to complete projects alongside a team of other likeminded people.”

Another passion of Lou’s is rowing, a sport she has been involved in for more than 10 years. As well as rowing with Newark Rowing Club in her spare time, Lou is also a member of the RAF’s Rowing Team that is made up of both regulars and reserves.

In recent years, Lou and her rowing teammates have excelled in four World Masters Competitions in Lithuania, Italy, Austria and Denmark.

Lou at Henley

Lou at Henley

The RAF team are currently in training for the National Veterans Competition in June, and the World Masters Competition in Slovenia in September beckons for a few.

Explaining more about her training regime, Lou said: “I train six times per week both individually and as part of a team. It is important that we all put as much preparation in as we can ahead of each event we take part in so we know we are in the right place to race to the best of our ability.

“I’m proud of my rowing achievements to date and I’m delighted that I was able to join the RAF Rowing Team. There are a lot of sporting opportunities for individuals joining the Reserve Forces, so if you are interested in rowing or another sport there are many things you can get involved in from social teams to those who enter high level competitions.

“When I think about the highlights of my rowing career, taking part in the Joint Service Regatta for the last four years springs to mind. I have won the single rowing medal three times in a row, as well as achieving the double medal, for two people in the boat, twice.

“If you are interested in sports, want to learn transferable skills, improve your confidence or meet new people I would recommend exploring the different opportunities available to you through the Reserve Forces.”

"There are a lot of sporting opportunities for individuals joining the Reserve Forces, so if you are interested in rowing or another sport there are many things you can get involved in from social teams to those who enter high level competitions."