A former Master Cadet who has become a role model for young people as an adult instructor with Somerset Army Cadets and as Head of Outdoor Education at Writhlington School has been honoured by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset.
Lieutenant Danielle Taylor has overcome many obstacles to secure her job at the school, where she is also Army Section Commander in the Combined Cadet Force.
She received her Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Lord-Lieutenant, Annie Maw, in ceremonies at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells.
“It was quite a surprise getting all the congratulations,” said Danielle, aged 26. “I didn’t realise I was even eligible!”
She added: “I didn’t do very well in my AS-Levels at school and it was only when I went to college that they ran tests and told me I showed signs of dyslexia. So I’m a practical, hands-on person, which is why a more activities-based job suits me.”
At Writhlington School, her personal journey and experiences gained with Somerset ACF have inspired many others to flourish and achieve through outdoor activities.
Danielle, who joined Somerset ACF in 2006, reached the rank of Cadet Regimental Serjeant Major and represented the ACF in shooting competitions overseas. She volunteered as an instructor in 2012 and was quickly appointed a detachment commander before taking on the role of Normandy Company Training Officer.
She has also been part of the Battalion shooting team and her own military and adventurous training qualifications have enabled cadets to enjoy more arduous and adventurous activities, including a successful expedition in Scotland.
Hill walking is Danielle’s other passion and having gained her Mountain Leader qualification in her own time, she has trained a team of cadets to complete the Ten Tors Challenge.
“It’s nice to get away walking for a weekend – and to get paid for it,” she said. “And coming up, we’ve got Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award training at school, cadet events and a school ski trip, which will be fun.”
Captain Simon James, of Wellington School CCF, also received the prestigious Certificate of Meritorious Service, which ranks only just below national honours such as the MBE.
He has served in the Army Section of Wellington School CCF since 2004, leading the section from 2010 to 2014.
Simon has also been commanded the Corps of Drums Section, who lead the Remembrance parade through Wellington on Remembrance Sunday and the St George’s Day Parade in Taunton. He oversaw the Centenary celebrations of the Wellington School CCF Corps of Drums, which involved playing the Reveille at the Menin Gate Evening Service, followed by a parade through Ypres.