Our CVQO Westminster Award celebration took place at the House of Lords on Thursday 16 September. It was a truly wonderful day, as we applauded the achievements of some of the UK’s most deserving young people.
It was also not without its share of emotion, as the day represented a chance to come together and celebrate after what has been such a difficult time for so many.
We were thrilled to welcome two Westminster Award cohorts to The House of Lords, as 17 cadets from the Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps, Royal Air Force Air Cadets and St John Ambulance received recognition for their work.
Alex Coombe of 233 (Pershore) Sqn RAFAC was crowned our 2020 CVQO Westminster Award winner and Amber Watkin from St John Ambulance Cobham Unit picked up the 2021 Award, though we are sure they will be happy to share the accolades!
Ella McAlister of Dorset ACF received the first ever Lingfield Achievement Medal, while Sophie Lambert of Christ’s Hospital CCF (Army) and Shannon Marson of Scarborough Sea Cadets were awarded the Lingfield Medal for 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Our 2021 expedition took the form of a two-week trip to Cornwall in late July for which we chose the theme of ‘Think global, act local’. We felt it was important to reinforce the strength of local communities in the wake of what has been a tremendously tough period for so many.
In Cornwall, we worked with four charity partners: ShelterBox, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, The Eden Project and The National Trust on a variety of volunteering projects intended to give a perspective on the challenges communities are facing both locally and globally. Our finalists gained an understanding of the issues associated with humanitarian aid, climate change and conservation.
After the expedition, we set the group the additional challenge of raising £2,000 for our charity partners and the finalists rose to the task, cycling, swimming, kayaking and campaigning their way to the target!
It is safe to say this has been a Westminster Award like no other. The House of Lords ceremony represented the culmination of two years of this prestigious competition and, though we have had to overcome many hurdles to reach this point, it is also a timely reminder of the resilience and determination of some of the UK’s finest young people.