A DOCTOR who came to the UK to improve his medical knowledge has been commissioned as an officer in the Territorial Army.

The Comet: Cpt John Ekpa with Lieutenant Colonel Adam Shorrock, receiving his commissionCpt John Ekpa with Lieutenant Colonel Adam Shorrock, receiving his commission (Image: Archant)

Captain John Ekpa, who is based at Hitchin’s D Squadron 254 Medical Regiment, came to England from Nigeria in 2005.

The Milton Keynes doctor has just completed an intensive army course, including a stint in Sandhurst, and has now been commissioned by the Queen.

Speaking about what he does, Capt Ekpa, 43, said he chose to take the army route because of his love of volunteering.

He told the Comet: “The whole point is being able to reach out, that commitment to the army. I have always loved volunteering and every opportunity I have had, I volunteered.

“I thought, what a better way to volunteer than to make the ultimate sacrifice and that’s why I joined the British Army.

“I have to give to the army but you learn and take a lot from the army as well. It gives you the opportunity to put your skills to the test, which you don’t get in the civilian work place.”

The father-of-two, who hopes to do a tour of Afghanistan next near, was presented with his Royal Warrant from Her Majesty, at the Hitchin TA Centre last week.

But it took a lot of hard work to get there. He was based in Strensall, York, for a short while, learning the basics of army life.

He then undertook advanced training and five-day field exercise at Sandhurst a little later. This culminated in an intensive two week course, followed by a commissioning parade attended by senior officers, friends and family.

“It was very intense,” he said, but added: “For me personally to have the opportunity to go there was a proud moment. I feel very fortunate.”

Capt Ekpa, who also volunteered at the Olympics, knew as soon as he arrived in the UK he wanted to be involved with the armed forces, and got in contact with the British Army to make enquiries.

“Being a soldier has always been my dream from childhood,” he said.

“My family have been very supportive of me.”

The centre is holding an open evening on February 27, from 7.30pm onwards. Anyone interested in the army is welcome to attend.