With over 40 England caps and a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze medal to his name, England Hockey international Liam Sanford is not only familiar with representing his country, but serving for it too.   

A Senior Aircraftman within the RAF, Sanford is part of their elite athlete scheme which allows the 23-year-old the opportunity to remain part of the RAF while training full time for England and Great Britain Hockey.

Following in his family tradition of serving within the military, to mark this year’s remembrance day, Liam Sanford took Team England on a tour of his current parent base at RAF Northolt to learn how he fulfils military service as an elite athlete.

“For me, playing for the RAF  probably a little bit more of the family side comes out, it’s obviously a little bit different, but obviously they both mean a huge amount to me.”

Despite the obvious contrast between duties he largely carries out within air traffic control towers of various RAF bases and the more familiar routine of hockey training at Bisham Abbey’s pitches, Sanford insists there are parallels connecting both aspects of his life that work hand in hand.  

“Going through training and what you learn and the attributes you get from being in the military they cross over, so being disciplined on and off the pitch, all that kind of stuff that I’ve learnt from being in the military enables me to be the best I can be at hockey.”

As the nation joins to remember all the servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives in service for their country, remembrance day will be significant moment for Sanford.

“To us it obviously means massive amounts, that will always go through my head, it’s what everyone has done for me, for everyone else wider military and for people not in the military, and I think that’s the most important thing, is understanding what they gave to give us what we’ve got now.