When a football injury led to knee surgery and reluctantly forced Andy Barraclough to quit as a Royal Marines Reservist, it opened up an unexpected second volunteering career – as an inspirational leader in Gloucestershire Army Cadet Force.
It all began ten years ago as an instructor in the Stroud Platoon. Then, after stints with other detachments, including Stonehouse and Tetbury, he moved on to his current role as a 2nd Lieutenant and Commander of Gloucester’s Hardwicke Platoon.
The outstanding contribution of the 48-year-old firefighter with Gloucestershire’s Fire and Rescue Service has been rewarded with the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire’s Certificate for Meritorious Service.
Dame Janet Trotter DBE, presented Andy with his Certificate during ceremonies at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Headquarters, Imjin Barracks, Innsworth.
Leaving the RMR, says Andy, left a gap in his life. “Then one day I started talking to a friend who thought I might enjoy a part-time role helping young people – and it went from there.
“Youngsters who come to the ACF for the first time are looking for something different in their lives – and there is much we can offer, particularly at a time when cuts have led to youth services and youth clubs being decimated.
“Of course, the Army Cadets doesn’t suit all – not every youngster wants to wear a uniform or have their hair cut short! But for many it’s ideal. In some cases, we see young people change their whole lives around. We never judge a young person by first appearances.”
Andy, who lives in Quedgeley, Gloucester, is a firm believer in providing variety for the cadets, whether it’s working towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or taking part in community-based projects with Gloucester Rugby Club. He has also encouraged Gloucestershire ACF to work with the county’s Fire Cadets on areas such as first aid.
The Certificate for Meritorious Service was also awarded to:
- Corporal Tracy Millard, for 25 years’ unbroken commitment to the Army Reserve infantry. The mother-of-two, who was mobilised to Iraq in 2003, is now a busy administrator with 6 Rifles at Eastern Avenue Army Reserve Centre..
- Warrant Officer (ATC) Tammy Curwen, for her with Air Cadets in the East of England, the West Midlands and now the West Country. After commanding 2419 (Quedgeley) Squadron, she stepped up as Officer in Charge, 637 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at RAF Little Rissington. In December 2016 she was appointed to Wing Warrant Officer, responsible for senior NCO development within the Bristol and Gloucestershire Wing.
- Captain Jane Jowett, second-in-command of the Combined Cadet Force contingent at Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham, where she is also Head of Outdoor Education. Through the government-sponsored Cadet Expansion Programme, she has also introduced the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and shooting success to the cadets of Gloucester Academy CCF.