Kent Lord Lieutenant’s Awards Ceremony Part.1


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An exceptional young soldier

Lance Corporal Neil Umpleby, 25, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Army Reserve.  Neil lives in Gillingham and is currently working full time for the Army Reserve, heavily involved in recruiting and the nurturing and retention of recruits.  Despite having been a member of the Army Reserve for only 5 years, serving with C Company The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (3PWRR), based in Rochester he is already a Section Commander demonstrating outstanding leadership abilities.  He enlisted into the Reserves whilst at university and completed all of his infantry training including the Combat Infantryman’s Course whilst still a student.

Lance Corporal Umpleby is a Bisley Shot and represents the Battalion in various competitions including as a member of the Army Reserve Combat Shooting Team where he shot against Canadians and Americans in Canada last year.  He said “I feel very proud to have received this award.  Since becoming a Reservist I’ve wanted to do my best for the Army and for myself.  I would like to think this award is proof that I’m reaching some of goals.”

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A Highly Accomplished Instructor

Sergeant Timothy Cain, 45, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Army Reserve.  Timothy lives in Ashford and is currently working full time for the Army Reserve, heavily involved in recruiting at his unit, 133 Field Company part of 103 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who are based in Sir Henry Brackenbury Road in Ashford.  Timothy, who is an ex-Regular Household Cavalryman is a Class 3 Armourer and a highly accomplished instructor.  He has introduced innovation to recruiting whilst maintaining an engineering structure and has overseen the introduction of National Vocation Qualification students from the local college to military engineering.  This has boosted the recruiting of young engineers and a number have gone on to join either the Reserve or the Regular Army.   Timothy also finds time to be a proactive volunteer instructor at the local Army Cadet Force detachment.

He said “I am surprised but pleased to have received this award.  I joined the Reserves as I missed my Regular service and now have the opportunity to serve my country if required”.

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A Source of Inspiration

Lieutenant Colonel Les Smith, 69, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Cadet Forces.  Les, who was the Contingent Commander of Maidstone Grammar Combined Cadet Force (CCF) lives in Maidstone and retired this year having formerly been a head of chemistry at Maidstone Grammar School.  When he retired from teaching he spent a further nine years at the school as the Chemistry Technician.  During his 36 years of service which has included eighteen years as an Army Reservist, he has consistently performed beyond his role, planning and organising cadet training including adventurous training and field exercises.  Les, who was himself a cadet at Hertfordshire Grammar School when he was boy, extended his service to recruit and train suitable successors so that the 110 years of cadet training tradition at Maidstone Grammar has been able to continue.  He said “I am surprised and highly honoured to receive this recognition and it is the highlight of my military career.  The award confirms a belief that I have done something of value for young people in education”.

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Passionate about the ACF

Major Simon Dean OBE, 53, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Cadet Forces.  Simon, who is the founder and CEO of Challenger Troop, the charitable organisation that reaches out to disengaged young people though a uniformed youth inclusion programme with a military ethos, also finds time to volunteer as a County Staff Officer with Kent Army Cadet Force.   A former cadet himself who flourished under the wing of an inspirational instructor within his detachment, he joined Kent ACF as a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer thirty four years ago in 1982 and has made the youth of Kent his life’s work.  He is passionate about the ACF and has been responsible for organising a very successful outreach programme with the County ACF.  He said “My time and experience in the ACF has shaped the person I am today and has inspired me to form Challenger Troop.  The ACF family and experiences I have had the privilege to benefit from have very much influence my success in life.  It’s a great honour to be nominated and the crowning of 42 years of service to an organisation I am passionate about”.

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A great ambassador for the ACF

Sergeant Major Instructor John Dwyer, 46, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Cadet Forces. John, a self-employed carpenter and joiner, joined Kent ACF in 2005 and is the B Company Sergeant Major responsible for adult and cadet discipline.    He is an excellent role model who epitomises the Cadet Force Adult Volunteer by his commitment, professionalism, drive and supportive nature.   Always leading from the front, setting clear leadership expectations, he coaches and mentors his unit’s management team.  He said “I feel very honoured to receive this award.  I was a cadet myself and wanted to give some of my time and experience back to the organisation.  I enjoy watching the cadets grow in confidence and stature to become well-rounded individuals”.

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Outstanding Commitment to the ACF

Sergeant Major Instructor Kate Westall, 35, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for her outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Cadet Forces. Kate, an administration officer for the Fraud Investigations Service joined the ACF as a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer in 2000 having learnt and enjoyed her own cadet experience so much she wanted to continue as an instructor.  She has a clear aptitude for leadership and organisation and after selection to be a Detachment Commander Kate was deployed to assist failing units, bringing them up to the required standard.  Last year Kate was appointed as the D Company Adult Training Sergeant Major and her continual outstanding support and dedication to the recruitment and development of potential instructors has greatly benefitted the county of Kent.   She said “I was overwhelmed to receive this award. It’s a nice feeling to know you’re appreciated.  I volunteer as an instructor with the knowledge that the time and effort I put into the cadets keeps young people off the streets and gives them confidence, courage and self-belief that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it.”

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An immense contribution to the ATC

Flight Lieutenant Nigel Grapes RAFVR(T), 60, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Cadet Forces. Nigel works as a team leader in a training and development section of UK Power Networks.  A former cadet himself, he joined the ATC as a Civilian Instructor in 1984, was commissioned in 1988 and his career has flourished ever since.  He commanded 2158 (Sevenoaks) Squadron, and has been the Wing Staff Officer responsible for nine squadrons.  Nigel is currently the Wing Health and Safety Officer, the Deputy Training and Shooting Officer and Wing Competition Shooting Officer.  His immense experience has benefited both cadets and staff alike, especially for shooting, where his significant contribution to Corps shooting has enable cadets to regularly achieve places within the Cadet “Top 100” at Bisley, with teams winning various competitions.  Nigel is also a keen mountain walker and climber and is one of a very small number of instructors with a “Local Mine Leader” qualification which adds to the adventure training challenges on offer to the cadets.  He said “I am very honoured to receive this award and to being recognised in this way”.

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