AFTER 24 years in the Army, Jo Hursey knew she wanted to do something different with her life.

And after a chance meeting with Prince Harry, she's ended up helping children improve their life skills with a smile.

The former soldier is a member of the SkillForce charity and visits Marden Vale School in Calne school on Friday mornings. “I was in the army in logistics,” said Ms Hursey, “and I was at the Invictus Games when Prince Harry asked me what I was going to do in the future. “I said I wasn’t sure but wanted to work with children and he said I should contact Prince William's charity.”

Following her career in the armed forces she applied for a job with SkillForce and was appointed as an instructor visiting seven schools in the region, including ones in Swindon and Wiltshire.

On Fridays, the 43-year-old works with the children using the skills they use naturally in the playground such as team work and communication but transferring them in the class room.

“It’s about getting children to use these skills,” she said, “communicating with each other, and being resilient and creating motivation in their work.”

The children said they enjoyed her visits as she put a smile on their faces.

Harley said: “It’s a really nice treat having her here on a Friday. If I’m in a bad mood she makes me happy.”

Willow agreed saying that if she felt sad then Jo made her smile while Jesse said: “She gives you confidence in what you are doing at school.”

Frankie said: “It’s always fun having her here and Mrs Fox likes her.”

Teacher Christine Fox said that Jo had made a difference to the children as she had a lovely personality and her work was appreciated by the school.

SkillForce is a charity that help school children face life’s challenges and embrace opportunities.