From Canning Town to the Finnish army
- Credit: Tom Nixon
Stephen Nixon’s life has taken a different path to that of his primary school classmates.
The 20-year-old moved from Canning Town to Finland at the age of seven with his mum and has now enlisted in the Finnish army.
He has served for two months so far and has another seven to complete.
“It’s hard to get used to,” he said.
“It’s a nice country here though. I miss my dad and my brother but I get to see them.”
You may also want to watch:
The former Star Lane pupil grew up in Ordnance Road before leaving in 2002.
He completed his education in Finland, becoming fluent in the language and gaining a diploma in security.
- 1 Body found in derelict pub in Forest Gate
- 2 Manor Park Fitness Centre closing to make way for 'affordable' homes
- 3 Two hospitalised as 60 firefighters tackle blaze in Stratford
- 4 92 arrests as police respond to community concerns about crime
- 5 Newham mathematician to fill in for Countdown presenter and expectant mum Rachel Riley
- 6 Stephen Timms 'cannot forgive attacker without meeting face-to-face'
- 7 Westfield Stratford City reopens after shop fire caused by electrical fault
- 8 Newham to 'bring back the broom' as recycling gets boost
- 9 Car abandoned after triple shooting and stabbing at Forest Gate barber
- 10 Fast food! Lewis Hamilton-backed chain opening east London branches
Having dual Finnish and British nationality meant that Stephen could have opted out of military service, but the aspiring boxer chose to show his allegiance to the country he now lives in.
The relocation as a child “took a lot of getting used to” but Stephen now admits to feeling more Finnish than British and has no plans to leave the country.
“If you’re living in Finland you have to either join the army, do civilian service or go to jail for a certain period of time,” he explained.
All young men are required to complete nine or 12 months of service, with women able to take part should they choose to.
Once Stephen, who lives in the town of Huittinen, south west Finland, finishes his service he will carry on with the job and sport he had before enrolling.
“Before I went in the army, I started boxing,” he said.
“I worked as a security guard and a bouncer, and I’ll probably continue doing that around my boxing training.
“It’s my dream to be a professional boxer, but I know that’s a long way off.”
Stephen’s dad Tom, who still lives in Canning Town, added that he was “very proud of what he has done”.