Mark swaps garage work for front line

Mark Ferron on duty in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
Mark Ferron on duty in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

A MECHANIC from Blyth has put down his tools to embark on a six-month tour of Afghanistan with the Territorial Army.

Mark Ferron, 23, will be operating a multiple-launch rocket system to provide support to troops on the ground in Helmand Province as part of 39 Regiment Royal Artillery.

The former Blyth Community College pupil’s first mission was to Iraq in 2008, and since then he has served on several operations both in the UK and abroad.

Mark joined the TA at 17 after studying for an apprenticeship as a mechanic at Newcastle College.

The Lance Bombardier has had to leave his fiancée and family to tour Afghanistan, but he believes the operations are going well.

He said: “We have seen a big decrease in the amount we are firing compared to previous tours.

“It seems that the hearts and minds mission is working and the country is gaining stability.”

Mark is due to return from duty in the autumn and is excited to get back to civilian life – and his day job at Monkseaton Garage.

However, he is positive about his TA experience:

“Being in the TA has given me more opportunities than most career choices do.

“Each day has a completely different story, which is what I love.”