An inspirational leader
Flight Lieutenant Tim Blackwell RAFVR(T), 42, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for his outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Cadet Forces. Tim is the shooting coach and examinations officer at Tonbridge School and is also a Justice of the Peace (magistrate). After a successful cadet career Tim now commands his old 129 (Tunbridge Wells) Squadron as a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer where his exceptional leadership has benefitted those serving under him, resulting in many cadets and staff gaining awards and accolades. In his additional role as Deputy Wing Adventure Training Officer and as a mountain leader he runs the annual unit adventure training camp at Capel Curig in Wales and is also the Wing Flying Liaison Officer. Last year he organised an RAF Charity Bike “Ride of Remembrance” for three charities, around 25 former Battle of Britain wartime airfields across Kent. A distance of over 385km in 3 days, raising over £8,000 between the 12 riders. On receiving his award he said “I am absolutely delighted. As with all cadet instructors, I dedicate an enormous amount of my free time to ensure that our cadets have the best possible experience during their time in the Corps and to receive formal recognition of my services is a pleasure and an honour. Thank you.”
Mrs Rosemary Starkey, 72, has been awarded the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Certificate for Meritorious Service for her outstanding loyalty and commitment to the Cadet Forces. Rosemary joined the Civilian Committee in 1984 when her son joined 402 (Gravesend) Squadron as a cadet and she wanted to support the squadron at exhibitions and in fund raising. She is now the Treasurer. A tremendous baker, she sells her treats at fetes and fundraising events, runs the canteen, and assists with Wing Modelling competitions. Rosemary is known by all for her hospitality, kind and cheerful disposition and has unselfishly given much time, effort and indeed personal funds on many occasions, to support the cadets at the squadron. A qualified seamstress she willingly alters uniforms for cadets and staff and away from the squadron she assists the local care home by teaching sewing to residents and driving their minibus. In addition, Rosemary is a full time carer for her husband, Alan. On receiving her award she said “I feel quite honoured. I know my squadron appreciate all the work I do as Treasurer but it is wonderful to be recognised from the top of the Cadets’ Association.”
An Exemplary Reserve Soldier
Craftsman Madan Sherchan, 32, has been awarded the title of Kent Reservist of the Year. He lives in Ashford and works for SBE UK Limited as a Team Leader. Craftsman Sherchan has been a member of the Army Reserve since 2013 and joined his local unit 133 Field Company 103 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in his hometown so that he could learn something new, for the adventure and for the challenge of learning both a military and technical trade. Madan is an excellent Army Reservist and Class 2 Metalsmith. He is an excellent shot and also took part in Ex Cambrian Patrol, gaining a Certificate of Merit for being 1st in the REME, ahead of some Regular teams and was a team member for Ex Griffin Spanner, the annual REME trade competition, finishing fifth out of 25 teams. A keen, fit and friendly soldier, he achieves results regardless of the activity. His support was invaluable during the Ghurka 200 recruiting event where his language skills proved very useful in recruiting pan-Army. On receiving his award he said “I feel very honoured. It gives me a feeling that my contribution and my family’s sacrifice in allowing me to do what love doing the most has been meaningful and of worth. I hope this will encourage more people to consider joining the Army Reserve. It also gives me the morale and motivation to continue with more vigour.”
A skilled young leader and motivator
Able Cadet Laura Potts, 16, has been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Cadet 2016/2017. Laura joined Dover and Deal Sea Cadets six years ago, aged 10, and her keenness to progress, learn and achieve was evident from the start. She has achieved many qualifications and has gone offshore on the Sea Cadet Brig Training Ship “Royalist” and the Sea Cadet power vessel training ship “Jack Petchey”, gaining the advanced catering and stewarding specialisations. A student at Astor Sixth Form College, she is also the Dover Mayor’s Cadet and is a youth member of the local Downs Branch of the Royal British Legion, inspiring the next generation of members. On receiving her award she said “I am proud and honoured to have my service and dedication to my unit and its team recognised in this way. It will give me a great opportunity to promote my unit and the Sea Cadet Corps in my local area. Being a Sea Cadet has built my confidence and ability to socialise with people, as well as enhancing my leadership and life skills.”
Kent Wing’s Best Drill Instructor
Cadet Warrant Officer Jack Etherington, 18, has been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Cadet 2016/2017. Jack joined his local ATC squadron in 2010 with a passion to join the RAF and as a senior cadet at 2374 (Ditton) Squadron, he is a Training Officer, responsible for drill and discipline, as well as being a mainstay of the band where he has been the lead drum major for the last two years. He has taken advantage of all the opportunities cadets has to offer including attending annual camps, various courses, Nijmegen Marches, adventure training weekends and has completed the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. Jack has a keen interest in Drill and ceremonial and was recently named best Drill Instructor at the Kent Wing Drill Instructors course. On receiving his award he said “I am honoured and grateful. It means everything to me as it’s an award I’ve always wanted”.
An Outstanding Role Model and Credit to the ATC
Cadet Warrant Officer Bridie Wakeford, 19, has been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Kent’s Cadet 2016/2017. Bridie joined the ATC in 2011 with a desire to join the RAF and as a senior cadet at 2520 (Tonbridge) Squadron, she helps in the running of the squadron and assists in the organisation of Kent, London and South East Wing events. Bridie achieved solo standard in flying as 1 of 5 winners of the RAFA flying scholarships and was the Wing representative for the International Air Cadet Exchange to Switzerland. One of thirty five graduates from the seven month “Qualified Aerospace Instructor’s Course of 2016, her residential element on the National Aerospace Camp has been used towards completion of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. As a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Assessor she helps many cadets complete the award and as a significant fund raiser she recently made a parachute jump for the Royal Air Force Association. On receiving her award she said “This is the highlight of my cadet career. I am honoured to be appointed to this position in my last year in cadets.”
Chief Petty Officer (SCC) Paul Webster BEM, has been awarded a 2nd Clasp to the Cadet Forces Medal in recognition of his long and meritorious service to the Cadet Forces. Paul is a civil servant working in administration support at the Health and Safety Executive in Ashford. He was thrilled to receive his award from the Lord-Lieutenant and said “It just shows how much I enjoy working with young people and giving the best cadet experience possible and giving young people the best career start possible in life”.