A BORDERS solider is set to take part in the King's coronation – just eight months into serving with the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

It will be the second landmark British event 22-year-old Graeme Thompson has been involved in, after he was on parade for the Queen's funeral.

He said: “Knowing that so many eyes will be watching on the day is a little daunting, but we’re so focused on what we need to do that you can almost forget just how many people are tuned in.”

But while the pressure is on to keep steps in line for the upcoming global event, Graeme’s day job doesn’t stop when these monumental calendar days come around.

The Borderer, who spends his soldiering hours at Glencorse Barracks in Penicuik when he’s not at home in Eyemouth, is just back from an intensive six-week-long NATO readiness test on Salisbury Plains Training Area, which is designed to ensure individual units are ready to deploy as part of a larger battle-group.

Alongside the Canadian army, the exercise saw more than 1,000 soldiers undertake hundreds of hours of training, tracking an ‘enemy’ across the vast area with hugely challenging terrain, weather and obstacles, including mine fields and enemy camps.

He said: “It’s gruelling. There’s very little time for a break and you never know what’s coming round the corner at any point. There’s no bed or restful sleep at the end of a day either – it’s constant. We set up tents and slept outside in the hours we could manage, but with the low March temperatures and the next test always around the corner, you’re in a perpetual state of being on red alert.”

But Saturday will see Graeme wear a different hat, as he steps away from his military training to join the King’s ceremony.

“We’re relied upon to look sharp in our formations as we join hundreds of other soldiers on the day – and we do it well.

“But it’s far from just ‘rehearse, rehearse, rehearse’ ahead of the day. I think people can forget that when we’re not lined up in our formal attire, in aesthetically pleasing parades, we’re often covered in sweat and mud with aching muscles as we’re put through our paces on tough military training, or out on deployment.

“It’s fantastic to have such variation in what you’re doing every day – I don’t think you’d find anything like it elsewhere. But being a part of a physically and mentally challenging infantry is what I signed up for. I thrive on it.”