March 9th 2015


A single mother from Leicestershire has taken time out as Mother’s Day approaches to reflect on how being in the Army Cadet Force (ACF) with her daughter strengthened their relationship.

Sergeant Major Instructor Amanda Gilbert, aged 47, joined the Shepshed Detachment of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland ACF (LNR ACF) in 2004 after helping out at a few training evenings her daughter Beverley attended as a Cadet.

Amanda, who works at a Customer Service Advisor at Capita on a day-to-day basis, told of how her daughter was instrumental in her becoming a full-time adult volunteer.

Amanda said: “I have been with the ACF now for 11 years, and it has helped me to build more confidence, as well as learn new skills like leadership and team working, but what I have enjoyed the most is getting to spend time with my daughter in a different environment.

Now the Detachment Commander at Ibstock Detachment, Amanda added that while she and Beverley have always been close, the ACF helped them to understand each other more and gave them new experiences as a mother and daughter.

She added: “Being around other young people helped me to understand Beverley as a teenager, which in turn helped us to develop a stronger bond that not every mother and daughter has. It was also great for Beverley to meet other people her age outside of school.

Although joining LNR ACF had personal benefits for Amanda and her daughter, joining the youth organisation also helped to boost the number of female volunteers at the detachment 11 years ago.

Amanda continued: “I always tried to give Beverley her own space within the detachment and chose to be assigned to different groups, but I often found myself going to her for advice on what to pack for camps and trips, which was a complete role reversal!

Sergeant Major Instructor Amanda Gilbert has now been in the ACF for 11 yearsSergeant Major Instructor Amanda Gilbert has now been in the ACF for 11 years“We have been able to share some wonderful experiences together, such as attending Ski Cadet in 2007, which we would not have been able to do outside of the ACF.

“We also took part in activities such as Kayaking, and learning how to navigate, as well as sleeping in the great outdoors. Having something to talk about together gave us a strengthened bond, and I am thankful to the ACF for playing a part in this.”

Amanda also told of how, as a single mother, she found support in the Army Cadet Force. She said: “The ACF have always been very supportive of my commitments and often went further to accommodate myself and Beverley. When I needed to sit my Adult Instructor Training Course, it was arranged so that Beverley could sit her Senior Cadet Instructors Cadre at the same time as I could not go away and leave her. This kind of support has really benefited myself and Beverley and helped us to grow in confidence together.

“I never thought that joining the ACF would be for me as I had no specific military experience. However, I found that I could use my lifeguard qualifications through the ACF, spend time with my daughter, and help other young people.”

Amanda now remains as an adult volunteer with LNR ACF after Beverley left in 2007. Beverley is now working full-time as a Lance Corporal in the Army Medical Corps.

Amanda explained: “The ACF has played a significant part in both our lives and we are both proud to have been part of an amazing organisation.”

The ACF is a uniformed youth organisation that gives young people between the ages 12 and in year 8 at school and 18 the chance to learn new skills and try out new activities such as adventurous training and field activities.

To learn more about the ACF, visit or call 0116 2779701