A BOMB disposal expert whose missions in Iraq inspired the Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker told his story to business people.

Major Chris Hunter wrote Eight Lives Down, based on his experience of “the world’s most dangerous job, in the world’s most dangerous place”.

He spoke to 100 business people at the AFC Business Directors’ lunch, held at the Vitlaity Stadium by the commercial arm of the Premier League Club.

He told how he joined the army at 16, served with a specialist counter-terrorism unit and was deployed in the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Colombia and Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

Awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his work in Iraq, he worked as a senior intelligence analyst at the Ministry of Defence and was seconded to COBRA, the Cabinet Office’s emergency response committee, at the time of the 7/7 London bombings.

He still works as a counter-terrorism consultant and returned to Iraq after the lunch to train locals in bomb disposal.

He told how he had adapted the skills he used in the army to the needs of the commercial world.

During a question and answer session conducted by interviewer Harvey Thornycroft, Major Hunter covered psychometric testing, communications, fear of failure, motivation, soft skills, dealing with mavericks and leadership.

Speaking of the military’s decision-making cycle, he said: “In any given activity, to observe the atmospherics, you orientate your resources or your focus, you make a decision then you act – then you observe, orientate, decide act again.

“Your competitors will be doing exactly the same thing so your decision action cycle has to be faster than theirs in order to achieve success.

“Fear comes in many forms and the most common one is fear of failure. I think this is misplaced. Sometimes you have just got to make a decision and if Plan A doesn’t work there are another 25 letters in the alphabet.

“Where I have seen amazing people be hugely successful is when they have been prepared to take a risk, albeit a calculated risk – and the reason others have not been successful is usually because their fear of failure has curtailed them and they have not been prepared to take a gamble.”

The event also saw Peter Lamb, from sponsor Savills Planning, give an overview of the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council region.

As well as the area’s strengths, he listed the challenges of infrastructure, roads, productivity and the unaffordability of housing.