Priddey Passes Out Top of his Class!

Ben during the hornpipe section of the PT Pass Out
LPT Priddey is presented with his 'clubswingers' badge by Rear Admiral Alex Burton
Olympic Champion, Lieutenant Peter Reed MBE, presents Ben with the Top Qualifier cup.

Ben Priddey has been a permanent fixture in the Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV since his first call up to the squad in 2007. More recently, he has led the players out on to the pitch at Twickenham as the team captain. This year he and his team lifted the trophy, winning the Inter Service competition, after a breath-taking draw against the Army clinched the title following an earlier one point victory over the RAF. Since then Ben has been keeping very busy on Physical Training Instructors' qualifying course. He passed out as top qualifier and best circuit taker and is about to return to the West Country to join Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose as their PTI.

Born in Truro, Ben started playing rugby at the age of 10, and hasn’t stopped since. His role in the Royal Navy, as an Aircraft Handler, has seen him spend the majority of his career so far based in the West Country, at RNAS Culdrose in Helston, Cornwall, as well as his time embarked in Her Majesty's Ship OCEAN, and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries ARGUS, FORT VICTORIA, MOUNTS BAY and FORT AUSTIN. Despite his busy work commitments he has also found time to play rugby for local Cornish teams, previously a member of Camborne RFC and now running out for Redruth RFC.

Joining the Navy in April 2006, within a year Ben had made his mark as a very capable forward, well deserving of his place in the Senior Squad. When asked how he found walking out in front of the large crowd at Twickenham for the first time in 2007 Ben said "I was definitely nervous but I didn't really realise how big the actual event was. And it has grown every year since." Since then Ben has made the position of hooker his own. His highlights include being part of the victorious 2010 Inter Service team, scoring a hat trick of tries in the 2014 Army v Navy match, and following Dave Pascoe's retirement, being selected as the new Captain for the Senior XV in 2015.

"Leading the lads out as captain is different altogether. It fills you with a huge sense of pride, especially knowing how important the competition is to everyone in the Armed Forces and what it means to them all." Ben explained.

He is rightly proud of his achievements, representing Cornwall, the Royal Navy and United Kingdom Armed Forces (formerly known as Combined Services) so it is no surprise that Ben eventually decided to seek a branch transfer to the Physical Training branch and has performed exceptionally on course. Now qualified, he has been assigned back to RNAS Culdrose and is looking forward to the challenge ahead. When asked what he thought the coming year might hold he said "I am planning to join the training camp starting in February and would like nothing better than to win back to back Inter Service titles - I know we have the capability to do so!"

And all those who were fortunate enough to attend the PT Passing Out Parade would definitely agree - Ben is in excellent shape and will be bringing all his new skills to bear when the Senior XV start their training ready for the 2017 Inter Service competition.

Images © Crown Copyright, LPhot Jenkins