SAS man tells soldiers why books are best

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Young South Yorkshire soldiers were given an inspirational talk by former SAS man Andy McNab - who said his new career as a successful author was all down to the Army.

The novelist was speaking to teenage recruits at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate in support of The Six Book Challenge, a charity initiative aimed at getting more people to read.

He said: “I came out of a youth detention centre and after three months in the Army something happened that changed my life.”

“I was 17 and had the reading age of an eleven year old. We were taken to a part of the camp where I’d never been before - it was the Army Education Centre and a captain came in and said, ‘That lot out there think you’re thick, but you’re not. All that’s going to change today.’

“The Army gave me a Janet and John book to read and helped me with it. My reading got better, and I realised that every time I read a book I learnt something and that gave me a great feeling.”

One of the soldiers in the audience, Baz Bradshaw, 17, from Barnsley, said: “It was brilliant to see Andy McNab and to hear him talk about reading, which is great because it just blocks everything else out and you learn so much.”