News

September 16th 2016

Derbyshire teenager named one of the top army cadets in the country

C Company's Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major Laurence Pilkington from Heanor

A Heanor teenager who says overcoming a lack of confidence and a speech impediment has been helped by joining the Army Cadet Force (ACF) has been named one of the top cadets in the UK.

Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major (Cdt RSM) Laurence Pilkington, aged 18, from Heanor, was one of just 16 in the country nominated for the Champion Cadet prize, the highest award a cadet can receive in the ACF.

After following in the footsteps of his sister Lydia by joining the ACF aged 13, Cdt RSM Pilkington has risen through the ranks to Master Cadet status, meaning he’s achieved everything possible as a cadet.

After being nominated by Derbyshire ACF’s Commandant, Colonel (Col) Chris Young for the Champion Cadet award, Laurence joined the other nominees from across the country at a special training camp at Frimley Park in Surrey where each’s skills, drills and leadership were put to the test.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t named the Champion Cadet, but fully enjoyed the process and can be proud to be one of the top 16 cadets in the country.

In preparation for his visit to Frimley, RSM Pilkington was a Platoon Commander leading a group of cadets on field exercises at Derbyshire ACF’s annual camp in Thetford last month.

Cdt RSM Pilkington, who also plays as a flanker for Derby Rugby Club, said: “It feels absolutely brilliant to be nominated. It’s made my self-confidence go through the roof.

“I used to be a very, very shy cadet. I used to have a very bad stutter and now I’ve got it under control and being in the cadets has certainly helped all that.

“The cadet force is like a big family. I would definitely recommend it to everybody else. It’s very rewarding and looks great on your CV, especially if you move up the ranks and go through the Army Proficiency Certificate syllabus.

“It just proves to employers that you have that drive behind you.”

Deputy Commandant Chris Doyle, said: “Laurence is a model cadet. It’s been fantastic to see this shy boy turn into a fine young man and excellent leader.

“He has put in a lot of hard work and dedication in to becoming a Master Cadet and I was delighted to nominate him for the Champion Cadet award.

“Everyone at Derbyshire ACF is proud of everything Cdt RSM Pilkington has achieved and we know he will be a success in his future adventures.”

 

“I used to be a very, very shy cadet. I used to have a very bad stutter and now I’ve got it under control and being in the cadets has certainly helped all that."