Award for inspirational Cornwall Sea Cadets officer


One of the successes of the Sea Cadet movement in Cornwall recently has been the setting up of a new unit at HMS Raleigh, Torpoint. That’s mainly thanks to the drive and leadership of Sub-Lieutenant Jan Cooper.

She took responsibility for this ambitious project during the many months of preparation needed to deal with staff recruitment, a mountain of paperwork and promotional efforts to attract the cadets themselves.

Jan, a Devon and Cornwall Police Community Support Officer in her working life, has now been honoured with the award of the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate for Meritorious Service.

Her association with the Sea Cadets goes back to the 1980s. Jan joined as a youngster in London, where she met husband Kevin, who was a Royal Marine Cadet. They moved to the South West more than 30 years ago and have two sons who are also very much involved in Sea Cadets – Ross as an adult instructor and Jack as a member of the Plymouth Drake unit.

Much to Jan’s delight, the Torpoint unit is now thriving, with a steadily growing membership that currently stands at 18.

“Getting it off the ground was something that had been talked about for a number of years,” she said. “It always seemed odd that there were cadets at Plymouth Drake but none across the water at Torpoint.”

Torpoint Cadets now have their own adult staff. But as a Cornwall District Officer, with duties covering six units – St Austell, Padstow, Falmouth, Penzance, Truro and now HMS Raleigh – Jan is always on hand to offer advice and encouragement.

The presentation by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE, took place during ceremonies at the Great Hall, Truro. Others to receive Certificates of Meritorious Service were:

  • Lieutenant Sophie Helliker, of Inkerman Company, Cornwall Army Cadet Force, for her achievements and selfless commitment. A former cadet, she became an adult instructor in 2009 and now runs a successful platoon in Lostwithiel which has grown from strength to strength since her appointment.
  • Company Sergeant Major Instructor Christopher Metcalf, for his efforts and achievements over nine years with Gibraltar Company, Cornwall ACF, including an outstanding contribution to recruiting cadets to the Falmouth Platoon. He has arranged for the cadets to attend scuba diving courses, take helicopter flights from RNAS Culdrose along with other activities.
  • Squadron Leader Robert King (RAF, Retd), for his hard work and selfless commitment to Air Cadets, and particularly No 3 Flying Training School, Air Experience Flight. The former RAF Sea King pilot retrained on fixed wing aircraft and flew hundreds of cadets until his 65th birthday and has since trained more than 5,000 cadets for flight every day during Easter and summer holidays.
  • Flight Lieutenant Karla Oliver, whose strong leadership as Officer Commanding 1387 (Liskeard) Squadron has transformed it from a detachment to a Squadron with more than 35 cadets and eight adults. This year she also led and managed the 100-plus cadets and staff of the Plymouth & Cornwall Wing’s Ten Tors Challenge over five months’ training, entering seven teams. Karla has a demanding job as a supply chain executive for a retail chain.
  • Flight Lieutenant Alan Quartly, for his unwavering commitment to the Air Cadets of 781 (Newquay) Squadron as detachment commander for 6 Flying Training School His role is to introduce up to 500 Cadets to the Air Experience Flight programme, held twice a year at RAF St Mawgan. The Cadets get to fly in an RAF GroB Tutor light and Alan is responsible for organising up to four aircraft, pilots, accommodation, supplies and engineering support.

Reserve Forces