A Taunton woman who has devoted the last decade to Army Cadets across the county has been honoured by the Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset.
Elaine Hunt, aged 50, joined Somerset Army Cadet Force (ACF) in 2003 and quickly made herself known as the Battalion’s linchpin, supporting administration for 33 Cadet Centres and 850 Cadets across the county.
Despite long office hours, and a heavy work-load, Elaine takes everything in her stride and still manages to support Cadets at countless weekend training sessions.
She said: “The way I see it I’m performing an essential service to the young people of Somerset, and I get so much out of it.
“It’s wonderful to see young people grow through the Cadets and become good people, contributing to society in a positive way.”
Elaine is a keen supporter of Somerset ACF’s shooting team, helping a number of Somerset Cadets to compete at county level and in overseas competitions.
“I like being able to contribute to their training as well as doing things on the administration side,” she said.
“Although really it’s the Cadets who put in the hard work, I’m just there to support them and help out.”
Elaine was presented with a Certificate for Meritorious Service by Somerset’s Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Gass, at a ceremony held at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells.
She said: “I was so shocked when I found out I was going to get an award, it’s such an honour and it’s nice to be recognised for the hard work you put in.”
Others who received Lord-Lieutenant’s certificates for Meritorious Service at the Wells ceremony were:
• Reverend Steven James Reed, of Taunton, aged 61 – Reverend Reed is the Padre for 6th Battalion the Rifles and has played a huge role in supporting Reservists and Cadets across the County since 2010.
• Colour Sergeant Martin Wills, of Taunton, aged 61 – Colour Sergeant Wills has dedicated 41 years of his life to Army music, first with the Light Infantry band and for the past 19 years as a member of The Rifles’ Salamanca Band. He not only has great musical expertise but he supports the group by arranging new music, performing on several instruments and personally seeking out new recruits.
• Serjeant George Pas, of Chard, aged 38 – Serjeant Pas has been a member of B Company 6th Battalion, The Rifles, for 13 years and has twice been mobilised to Afghanistan. In 2011 he volunteered for mobilisation again but shortly after was involved in a road traffic accident leaving him wheelchair bound. Still a member of 6 Rifles within the Company Recruit Mentoring Team, George is a keen fundraiser for military charities such as SSAFA and completed a charity skydive earlier this year.
• Chief Petty Officer Rebecca Kerswell, of Street, aged 51 – Rebecca has completed nearly two decades of service to local Sea Cadets after joining the Yeovil Unit in 1994, later working at Glastonbury and Taunton Units. Since she took on the administration at all these Units they have achieved efficiency awards year and year. Rebecca is described as the Taunton Unit’s ‘unsung hero’ by her peers.
• Squadron Leader Brian Higgins MBE, of Bath, aged 73 – Squadron Leader Higgins has contributed to the success of 93 (City of Bath) Squadron ATC for fully 42 years. In 1982 he was awarded an MBE for his continuing success. He freely gives his time, expertise and guidance to Cadets in the Unit on a regular basis and continues to offer an outstanding contribution to the ATC and the young population of Bath.
• Mrs Susan Moorehead, of Wells, aged 55 – Susan has been a member of the civilian committee at 1955 (City of Wells) Squadron Air Training Corps for 16 years and is described as one of the main driving forces for the ATC. She organises a number of fundraising events for the Unit and gives up much of her spare time to support the RAF Central Band staff, organising transport, catering and even the concert programme.