A primary school teacher from Cashes Green near Stroud has received a Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate of Meritorious Service for her dedication to the county’s Army Cadets.
Major Hannah Beale has served as an officer in the Gloucestershire Army Cadets Force since 2005, having previously been a cadet herself. As Company Commander, she is responsible for around 200 cadets and 35 adult volunteers across 10 detachments in the county.
Hannah encourages cadets to take part in the widest possible range of activities including the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and Cadet Vocational Qualifications.
She explained: “I know it sounds a bit corny but becoming a cadet at the age of 14 really changed my life. I was very shy and wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose. It really brought me out of myself and I ended up as a Cadet Sergeant Major.
“I also got my gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award and went to St James’ Palace to receive it from the Duke himself. This is what inspires me to put young people forward for the award because it’s amazing. You can put it on your CV and it just makes you stand out.”
Hannah also encourages cadets to study for BTEC qualifications. She added: “A lot of the cadets who come to us don’t really have an academic background so this is perfect for them.”
A keen musician, she has also revived Gloucestershire ACFs Corps of Drums. She explained: “The Corps of Drums had been going downhill and I was really keen to keep it going. I only learnt to read music three years ago when I started playing the cornet in my school band.
“I’ve just got a real passion now for getting young people involved in music. It’s something they don’t always realise they can do and it’s great for those who don’t necessarily want the military side of things – it gives them something different.”
As well as her full-time teaching role, Hannah is on the school’s senior management team and acts as the special needs and disabilities co-ordinator. She runs several after-school clubs, including tag rugby, athletics, orienteering, computing and archery.
She said: “I just love it. I think young people are amazing – they’re our future. There are so many young people, especially cadets, who bring such a positive to society. That’s why I do it.”
Major Beale received her Certificate of Meritorious Service from Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Edward Gillespie OBE, during a ceremony at the Manor by the Lake Hotel, Cheltenham.
Others to be awarded the Certificate of Meritorious Service, which is only one level below national honours such as the MBE, were:
- Tony Smith, a civilian driving instructor, who is a member of the management team at Cheltenham Sea Cadets (Training Ship Legion). His strong leadership as chair led to the award of a Burgee for outstanding progress and performance, marking the unit as one of the best in the UK. He continues to serve the Unit as its president.
- Lieutenant Marion Hooper, who has served the Sea Cadet Corps for more than 50 years. She was Unit Secretary, Instructor and Commanding Officer of Brighton Sea Cadets before moving to Gloucestershire to join Cheltenham Sea Cadets (TS Legion).
- Sam Wildin, Administration Officer for 14 years with the Rifle Volunteers and subsequently with A Company, 6 Rifles. She is responsible for the administration of 186 Army Reservists and Regular staff based in Gloucester, Bristol and Hereford.
- Lieutenant Michael Chard, a police officer who grew a struggling Sea Cadet unit in the Forest of Dean over nine years to a flourishing unit of 38 cadets. Ex-RN, he was an inspiration to the cadets as Commanding Officer and continues to support the Unit.
- Sub Lieutenant (SCC) Joseph Thurland, a civil servant who has spent 15 years as an adult volunteer in the Sea Cadets. He took over as commanding officer at Cheltenham after two COs left in quick succession and did a great job in turning the unit around.
- Special Constable William Bayley has been an integral member of the Urban Response Team since joining in 2017. He volunteered more than 1,200 hours in 2018 in addition to his core role, training Special Forces and others in close hand combat.
- Special Constable Jasmine Smart, a professional actor who is the first Special Constable to become a family liaison officer and a trauma risk management co-ordinator. She is also a trained ‘hate crime champion’ for the force.
- Dan Kershaw, a software developer who joined the Special Constabulary four years ago. He has become one of the most skilled road policing officers and is the first Special Constable to be an accredited scene manager for serious or fatal road traffic collisions.