From Wessex RFCA:
Congrats to a full-time PhD student and father of four from Bude, who has been honoured with a Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate of Meritorious Service for his exceptional efforts in turning around the fortunes of his local Army Cadets unit.
Since taking command of the Bude Detachment in 2016, Lieutenant Alistair Harper has seen the numbers of cadets increase steadily each year, from 15 initially to an anticipated 40 by the end of this year.
Adult volunteer numbers are increasing too, with six onboard already and another three starting soon. Alistair, 44, is commended for his “leadership, selfless commitment, integrity and hard work” in making Bude the best detachment in the county.
In addition to regular training sessions, he has organised 125 extra activities over the last two years, including selection training weekends for overseas trips, visits to London and to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to see the Sovereign’s Parade.
Alistair, 44, is also committed to helping the cadets develop into young leaders and has invited a range of speakers to talk to them. These have included a former military attaché to Berlin, an ex-Special Forces soldier and a corporal who is training to become the first female Royal Marines Commando.
He encourages the cadets to get involved in their local community, taking them into schools to provide first aid training and setting up displays and activities in the centre of Bude.
“Bude is in the second tier of poverty in the UK and we have a lot of young people affected by these issues who come through our doors,” said Alistair. “We have to work really hard for them because the ACF is often one of the last places that will take on troubled young people and actually give them something positive to take away. I was amazed to find out about this award. This is very much a team game, though, and I’ve got a great team of volunteers and senior cadets behind me. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Lieutenant Harper received his Certificate of Meritorious Service from Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Colonel Edward Bolitho, during ceremonies at the Alverton Hotel, Truro.