A RIPON Grammar School student is celebrating after beating thousands of applicants to earn a place at a world-leading military school.

Marcus Bartlem, from Carthorpe, near Bedale, has won an army scholarship, worth up to £18,000, which will help fund him through university and guarantee a place to train as an officer at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

Following a gruelling recruitment process, Marcus was chosen out of thousands of young men and women from all over the country to get one of the 100 annual scholarships available.

Sandhurst boasts alumni such as Winston Churchill and both Prince William and Prince Harry. Foreign monarchs such as King Hussein of Jordan and the Sultan of Brunei were also trained there.

“I was extremely happy but also relieved when I heard that I had obtained the scholarship, as it was a long and tough process,” said Marcus. “I am very grateful to have been selected.”

Studying history, economics and chemistry at A-level, he will now benefit from army funding of £3,000 through his final school year and £2,000 for each year he is at university, where he will also be eligible for further army bursaries.

The Year 13 student added that he is looking forward to the leadership opportunities, alongside the prospects of adventure training and travel which army life offers.

The highly competitive application process took place over nine months. Following stringent medical assessments, virtual interviews and cognitive tests, the 17-year-old, whose father served as an RAF fighter pilot, was invited to the final army officer selection board.

“It was intense, taking place over two days,” says Marcus, who completed a series of demanding interviews, planning exercises, cognitive and written tasks, leadership challenges and fitness tests including an obstacle course.

But it was all worth it when he was informed, three weeks later, that he had been successful: “I’ve always been interested in the military, most likely as a result of my dad’s involvement in the RAF. I hope to join the Army Air Corps as an Apache pilot as flying has fascinated me for a long time,” he said.

Planning to study history at university, his sporting achievements helped in the selection process. As well as representing his school and local club in rugby, he enjoys biking and walking expeditions and is completing his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.