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Army recruit who died training at Pirbright base is named

Published 17/09/2015

The entrance to the Pirbright Army Training Centre in Surrey
The entrance to the Pirbright Army Training Centre in Surrey

A recruit who has died while undergoing initial Army training was named tonight as Megan Park.

Her family said she had always wanted to be in the armed forces and had started her dream job.

The Army said she had died while undergoing initial training at the Army Training Centre (ATC) Pirbright, in Surrey.

The family of the 21-year-old from Lancashire said: "It is with deepest regret that Megan's family must announce that she has sadly passed on, doing the thing she loved.

"Ever since Megan was at school, she always wanted to be in the armed forces. Everybody who knew Megan was aware of this. She was so excited about going. It was the start of her dream job. Megan is going to be missed by so many people, friends and colleagues.

"Although she will be deeply missed her presence will always be alive. Megan will always go on in people's memories for her lively sense of humour and her fun sarcasm and quirky personality.

"The family are very grateful for all the good wishes and thoughts and just ask that people respect our privacy at this time."

An Army spokeswoman said: " The incident is being investigated and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.

"We offer our condolences to the family and ask that you respect their privacy while they come to terms with their sudden loss."

The Sun reported that Ms Park had completed a tough two-day exercise.

Pirbright is only four miles from Deepcut, where four soldiers died between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse.

Privates Cheryl James, Sean Benton, James Collinson and Geoff Gray all suffered gunshot wounds.

The Army website says initial training follows a 14-week common military syllabus.

The course is both "challenging and demanding", involving a range of subjects designed to enable the recruit to take their place in the service.

It says that in addition to military training they will have the opportunity to participate in a week of adventurous training in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, where activities may include rock climbing, abseiling, caving, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking.

Earlier this year the Army apologised after being criticised by a coroner for a catalogue of blunders which led to three deaths on an SAS test march in the Brecon Beacons.

An inquest into the heat-related collapse of reservists James Dunsby, Edward Maher and Craig Roberts concluded they would have survived if commanders had followed Ministry of Defence guidelines.

Narrative verdicts recorded by Birmingham coroner Louise Hunt also found that delays in providing medical help to the men in the incident in July 2013 amounted to neglect.

A 20-day inquest heard that directing staff took almost two hours to notice that Lance Corporal Maher had stopped moving during the 16-mile march in "heatwave" conditions.

After the inquest, Brigadier John Donnelly, the Army's personnel director, said: "I would like to apologise for the deaths of James Dunsby, Craig Roberts and Edward Maher, three fine soldiers, and I would like to offer my sincere condolences to their families and friends who have shown great dignity during what has been a very difficult period.

"We are truly sorry for all the mistakes the coroner identified."

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