Former RAF gunner sets up sniper experience firm just off A11
PUBLISHED: 09:01 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:37 23 April 2018
A former Royal Air Force sniper has set his sights on business success – by putting to use the skills learned in his military career.
Ainsley Neilly, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan during his eight years in the RAF Regiment, has set up Combat Sniper on the edge of Thetford to give members of the public an insight into the training and skills required to be a sniper as well as the history of the role.
Mr Neilly was based at RAF Honington near Bury St Edmunds before he left the forces, and one of the aims of his new venture is to provide opportunities for fellow ex-servicemen to use their knowledge and talk about their experiences.
He said: “I set Combat Sniper up because I have an interest in snipers and I thought it would be something a bit different which would be able to inform people and be fun.
“It is also nice to be able to use those skills I have coming from the military.
“It is not designed to teach people how to be a sniper but to give them awareness of what it entails while having a bit of fun along the way.”
The company organises events for parties or corporate team-building.
As well as classroom sessions based around his own training Mr Neilly offers paintballing games and activities designed to get visitors in the mindset of a sniper in the field – as well as offering them the chance to get one over on their friends.
He said: “We run bespoke courses depending on what people want to get out of it.
“We do a lot with paintball snipers so we can take people out in the woods and they try to find each other using the skills that we have shown them. It is really good fun but at the same time you are nervous as well because you don’t want to get shot – it is intense.”
Mr Neilly said he wanted to develop a sniper museum on the site, which neighbours the separate Combat Paintball just off the A11.
He added: “I started [Combat Sniper] last year and I have had lots of interest since then. Combat Sniper has nearly 2,500 likes on Facebook and some of our videos have been getting shared lots of times.”
Mr Neilly has been taking bookings as they have been coming in, but hopes to develop the business into one which can support full-time jobs.