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Honours for Armagh Cadets at special Stormont ceremony.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Honours for Armagh Cadets at special Stormont ceremony. thumbnailCaptain Charles Cooper from Loughgall receives the Lord Lieutenantís Certificate for Outstanding Meritorious Service Above and Beyond The Call of Duty from Lord Caledon.

TWO local representatives of the Cadet movement have been honoured at a formal ceremony at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

Charles Cooper from Loughgall, an adult instructor with the Army Cadet Force, earned the Lord Lieutenant's Certificate for Outstanding Meritorious Service Above and Beyond The Call of Duty - an award which is second in importance only to one presented by Her Majesty The Queen - while local teenager Caitlin Hayles was appointed to the role of Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant's Cadet for the County of Armagh.

Captain Charles Cooper who has been with the Army Cadet Force since 1996 was praised in his award citation for 'unstinting selfless commitment to the ACF and Cadets over a long period'.

During his volunteer career he has held a variety of posts, serving as Detachment Commander of Markethill, Richhill and Kilkeel.

Drawing on his own experiences as an enthusiastic and accomplished member of the cadet shooting team at Royal School Dungannon, Captain Cooper had a clear vocation within the shooting fraternity and he served with considerable success as company shooting officer.

Having gained numerous Range Management qualifications and giving freely of his own time, Captain Cooper determinedly set about driving up standards within the sport.


To do this he had to commit even more of his time to the Army Cadet Force, running additional range evenings for those cadets who had by now developed an interest in the sport. His efforts were not wasted.

Under Captain Cooper's tutelage the E Company team were clear winners at the Battalion Skill at Arms Meeting and, in September 2014, he was appointed as Battalion Shooting Officer.

Since then, all company shooting teams have benefitted from his skill, enthusiasm and commitment to them and shooting teams have gone from strength to strength, achieving unprecedented shooting success along the way. At Bisley in July 2016, he led the Battalion to victory, winning four major trophies.

Last year even greater success was achieved at Bisley. The team won a total of nine major team trophies, numerous individual successes and E Company were again crowned overall champions.

In addition, cadets were selected to represent the Army Cadet Force at International level in South Africa and Canada.

His award citation concludes, Captain Cooper 'epitomizes not only the ethos of the Army Cadet Force, but also upholds the trust that it places in every officer and the values and standards which underpin it.


He has demonstrated excellent leadership and commitment well beyond that expected, for the benefit of others. Captain Cooper is a mature, reliable and articulate Officer and an asset to the Cadet Forces.'


Seventeen-year-old Flight Sergeant Caitlin Hayles, who is an enthusiastic member of 833 (Antrim) Squadron RAF Air Cadets, is one of just 12 Lord Lieutenants' Cadets appointed across Northern Ireland.

The cadets who are selected for the largely ceremonial year-long role can expect a busy year in office as they attend their respective Lord Lieutenants on major civic occasions.

In recognition of their role, they are entitled to wear a special insignia on their uniforms throughout their year in office.

Caitlin has consistently shown herself to be a high achiever within the Cadet movement, achieving the uppermost classification as a Master Air Cadet and earning a BTEC Level 2 in Aviation Studies.

In just the last year she has been awarded the titles of Best Cadet of The Year and Best Non-Commissioned Officer of The Year within her squadron.

A keen sportswoman at school, Caitlin has attained a lifeguard qualification which she puts to good use with voluntary work at her local leisure centre.

Her active lifestyle is reflected in her cadet interests, and this year she completed the expedition module of her Duke of Edinburgh Silver award, she attended her first summer camp at RAF Henlow in 2016, she also took part in the Rothiemurchus Adventure Training Camp in Scotland in August 2017 ... and, still fired with energy, she successfully completed the famously gruelling four day 100 Mile Nijmegen March in Holland.

Commended for her integrity, leadership, dependability and hardworking attitude, Caitlin also finds time to fundraise for a number of charities.

The citation which accompanies her award concludes: 'Flight Sergeant Hayles is a fantastic ambassador, not only for the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, but for all Cadet Forces in Northern Ireland. Her inspiring character helps to motivate others, whether she is leading or a team member, she always helps to pass on knowledge she has gained. Caitlin's service and determination to excel in all that she applies herself to, combined with her maturity and selfless commitment to the Royal Air Force Air Cadets are commendable and set a precedence to inspire others to lead by example.'

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