Challenger tank ride for honorary colonel Dame Kelly Holmes

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Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes has returned to her military roots with a ride on a Challenger 2 tank.

She was driven around the Army’s armoured warfare centre in Bovington, Dorset to mark her appointment as Honorary Colonel of The Royal Corps Training Regiment.

Dame Kelly becomes the first Honorary Colonel to be appointed to a regular regiment and was presented with a scroll marking the occasion by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

She spent 10 years in the Army before turning to athletics full-time and winning double gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“This is a massive honour for me. You cannot underestimate how much my military career has led me to this point and it was dream of mine when I was 14 to join the military,” Dame Kelly said.

“I joined when I was 18 years of age and it is one of the best things I have ever done, and it has made me who I am.

“As an international athlete, it was my military career that saw me through the ups and the downs and made me push to be the best I can be and never give up on my dreams.

“As your Honorary Colonel, I will do the best in my role to lead by example and to help you to be the best that you can be.”

The appointment was approved earlier this year by The Queen.

Dame Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes is made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Dame Kelly Holmes is the first Honorary Colonel to be appointed to a regular regiment and it is an exceptional honour for an exceptional person.

“She has achieved so much through determination, a will to succeed and a desire to show the world what they are made of, and to do it in such extraordinary style, I have no doubt will act as an inspiration to so many in the future.”

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