An elite commando medic has been awarded with a raft of medals – for DANCING.
Lance Corporal Antony Gardner, a Combat Medical Technician with 29 Commando, scooped five medals at the European Modern Jive Championships, making him one of the top dancers in Europe.
He stormed into the finals in all disciplines at the contest, before securing two silver and two bronze medals.
L/Cpl Gardner, 27, said: “I feel extremely proud to be able to represent not only my local venue, but my country at the European Championships.
“I didn’t have much time to train with my dance partners due to the demands of my job so it was extremely nerve-wracking to see the other well practiced and slick dancers on the floor.
“At the competition there were 15 of us from England all together.
“The best dancers were there each representing their country – there was about 90 people there competing.
“Our main competition was the Hungarians, but we did really well and probably brought home around 30 medals altogether.”
L/Cpl Gardner strapped on his dancing shoes for the first time in 2006 after becoming inspired by his brother.
He said: “My first competition was in 2007 and I came first in one of the categories – I have been dancing and competing ever since.
“I started teaching after three years – initially with a few friends who were asking for some of the flashier moves I do at competitions, but then I moved on to paid teaching.”
He added: “My mates in the army love it. They are quite supportive but I get all the usual banter you would expect.
“I’ve even given dance lessons to some of them for their weddings.
“I can be based all over for my job, but the club is really social. I can go away for long periods of time and can come back and be social and see everyone.”
Elaine Davies-Evans, chairman of Plymouth Jive where Antony also teaches, said: “We are very proud of Antony, he is a credit to the club and we knew he would do well in representing not only the UK but also Plymouth Jive.”