Devon Army Cadet Force adult volunteers David and Julia Carrington made it a family affair when they both received Certificates of Meritorious Service from Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant David Fursdon DL at Rockbeare Manor, near Exeter.
Serjeant Major Instructor David and Staff Serjeant Instructor Julia were honoured for their dedication and devotion to cadets in and around Exeter.
The couple, who live in Whipton, met a dozen years ago when Julia’s daughter was a cadet under David’s instruction. Julia first got involved as a civilian admin assistant but within a year she was in uniform herself.
David, an ex-Regular soldier and skilled instructor, has particular expertise in signals and skill-at-arms and often been called upon to run courses and deliver wider training across the county.
Through hard work and imagination, he has successfully revived the fortunes of detachments in Crediton, Uffculme and Exeter. At Wyvern Detachment, despite having had heart trouble, he leads a very strong outfit routinely placed in the top five of the county’s 36 detachments.
Julia has been at the forefront of activity week-in, week-out, in the Wyvern Detachment while also being the carer for her disabled son. She has excelled in the delivery of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Scheme, to the benefit of both the Detachment and A Company, which has the highest awards tally of any ACF company nationally.
Last year, she stepped in at short notice to ensure the detachment in Sidmouth remained viable.
The couple arrange their lives around their commitments to the Cadets, no mean feat now that they are both holding down jobs. She said: “I work nights at Waitrose but I do get two evenings off when I can be with the Cadets.
“Some of my best moments have been seeing cadets achieve, especially those who at one time thought they were worthless. That’s what I cherish. I just say: ‘I believe in you’ – and then I stick with them.”
David added: “You always think of some of the cadets who we’ve helped improve themselves. It’s great to see how they’ve come through, how they’ve developed into better people rather than being out on the street doing something stupid.
“A lot of it is about the life skills that they learn, through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards too.”
Others to receive the prestigious Certificate of Meritorious Service, which ranks only just below national honours such as the MBE were:
- WO2 Mark Holland, for his exceptional dedication and commitment to the Army Reserve in providing opportunities for soldiers to upgrade and maintain their skills in his role as Regimental Training Warrant Officer with 165 Port & Maritime Regiment.
- WO2 John Cragg, for his selfless commitment to the Army Reserve as Regimental Sub-Unit Support Officer for 265 (Devon) Port Squadron, 165 Port & Maritime Regiment, based at Derriford. The sub-unit has achieved good figures in a difficult recruiting climate.
- Chief Petty Officer Steven Sansbury, Coxswain of Devon University Royal Navy Unit, the first new URNU in 22 years. His drive, enthusiasm and leadership have been pivotal in developing the unit from an intake of 12 in 2016 to its current strength of 45 cadets.
- Robin Frost, Cadet Administrative Assistant for A Company, Devon ACF, for going beyond his remit to ensure that ten detachments and seven cadet centres receive administrative and logistic support of the highest calibre. He is also a Cadet Adult Volunteer Officer.
- Anthony Griffin, chairman of Exmouth Sea Cadet Corps since 2012 who has been instrumental in raising more than £750,000 for a purpose-built Unit for Exmouth Sea Cadets. Exmouth was recently named the best overall Unit within the South West Area.