A Bournemouth Reservist with the Territorial Army (TA) has received a prestigious award from Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Dorset, Mrs Anthony Pitt-Rivers.
Kevin Loader, 44, a Platoon Serjeant for C Company 6th Battalion The Rifles (6 Rifles), based at Poole TA Centre, received the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate for Meritorious Service in a ceremony at the National Sailing Academy, Weymouth, on Thursday (October 17).
Described by his superiors as ‘the linchpin that holds the platoon together’, Serjeant Loader has dedicated a total of 18 years to the TA, but left in 2004 to set up his Bournemouth based vehicle recovery business, which is now his full time job.
However he couldn’t resist the pull of army life and joined up again in 2007.
“I regretted the decision as soon as I quit,” he explained, “there was something about being a soldier with the TA that was in my blood and once I had the business set-up, I was itching to sign-up again.
“It would have been a lot harder to set up my own business without the experience I gained as a Reservist. When you are trained to deliver orders to a group of 20 people, it gives you the confidence and the skills to manage your own business – something I always wanted to do.”
Not only does Kevin dedicate his spare time to the Reserves, he also finds the time to inspire young Cadets at Dorset Army Cadet Force (ACF) as an adult instructor, and to raise his four children, aged 19, 17, 13 and five.
He said: “I was asked to help out with the ACF as a one off a few years ago and I was so impressed with the young people involved I instantly wanted to get involved myself and help them to achieve as much as possible.
“I’m honestly not sure how I find the time to do it all but I carry on because it’s such a great feeling to know I’m making a difference to young people’s lives.”
He added: “It is a great honour to receive an award such as this from the Lord-Lieutenant and I feel completely humbled as I was not expecting it at all.”
Others who received the award for Meritorious Service with the Reserve and Cadet Forces in Dorset were:
- Lance Corporal David Clifford, 41, of Weymouth – a Vehicle Commander at A Squadron The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, who dedicates much of his time to fundraising for the Army Benevolent Fund, most recently organising a Cricket Match against the Lord-Lieutenant’s Team.
- Corporal Nigel Scott, 51 of Dorchester – a Military Clerk at C Company 6 Rifles and former Police Officer who has served twice in Afghanistan.
- Major Andrew Robert Garrett, 45, of Wimborne – a County Training Officer at Dorset Army Cadet Force responsible for the training of young Cadets throughout Dorset and the Channel Islands.
- Mr Michael Godden, 64, of Bournemouth – a Civilian Instructor with 2358 (Ferndown) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) who has been a key figure with the Dorset and Wiltshire Wing ATC for over 40 years.