Nov 11 2008 by Katie Norman, South Wales Echo

AUTHOR and former SAS soldier Andy McNab has been inspiring teenage military hopefuls.

The Bravo Two Zero author said he was reminded of his own youth when he visited Cardiff’s Military Preparation College yesterday.

The author of the biggest selling war book of all time gave an hour-long talk as well as answering questions from young people and signing copies of his books at the college, off Dumballs Road, in Butetown.

McNab praised the college, for helping young people who struggle in school to get an education and training.

Student Kevin Watkins, 17, from Caerphilly, said he was more motivated to work hard after hearing the former soldier speak.

He said: “I found it really interesting when he was talking about selection for the SAS. I’ve always wanted to join the SAS but I want to do it even more now.”

The teenagers were enthralled and amazed by McNab’s tales of being captured and interrogated in Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991. He told of how he withstood beatings and burns during his six weeks in captivity.

Donna Dawson, 16, from Bridgend said: “It’s amazing to think that he’s been through all that and he’s still an everyday person.”

The author told youngsters how he learned to read and write through the Army after joining up at the age of 16 as an alternative to staying in a juvenile detention centre. He encouraged the students to use the college and the military to learn as many new skills as they can.

He said: “These lads and girls might not all decide to join the Army, and that’s fine, it’s not for everyone.

“But if they do join, they know what they’re getting into and they’re able to make their own decisions on that.

“The ones that do join all want to join Welsh regiments and there’s every reason to think they can do really well. They all want to succeed and it’s all about getting the best out of them.”

McNab’s visit certainly inspired the teenagers to read and after his talk many of them queued to buy his book.

Rhys Johanson, 16, from Llanrumney, Cardiff, was among those waiting in line.

He said: “It’s been really good listening to him talk and it was really interesting hearing about when he was captured.”

Source: WalesOnline

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