Thursday 23rd November | The 2023 South East Lord-Lieutenants awards season has come to a close and we reflect on another spectacular year. Each ceremony recognises individuals who demonstrate the volunteer ethos through the awarding of Medals and His Majesty Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificates for Meritorious Service, amongst other awards. It is also an opportunity for us to build and nurture the enduring relationships that are so important to the local communities.
Group Captain Keith Lane RAF (Retd), Chief of Staff & Head of Engagement at SERFCA, said “The hosting of our 8 Lord-Lieutenants Awards evenings is a massive pleasure for all the staff at SERFCA. Another year goes by and the quality of the recipients continues to come through. I am constantly humbled at the sacrifice, support and contribution that the volunteers make and for us being able to shine a light on these efforts is a great honour.”
His Majesty Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificates for Meritorious Service were instituted to afford public recognition to those members of the Reserve and Cadet Forces whose efforts are not recognised by the twice-yearly Honours Lists. This year, the awards recognised individuals such as Air Specialist 1st Class Simon Miesages from No 4624 (County of Oxford) Movements Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, who takes his support to different levels when it comes to his charitable endeavours. His long-standing support to the SSAFA Battle Proms saw his team raise the magnificent sum of £36,000. He then deployed to the Falklands, which was his 3rd mobilisation in 6 years.
The Lord-Lieutenants from each county presented many additional awards too, including British Empire Medals, Deputy Lieutenant Commissions, Cadet Vocational College Recognitions of Achievement, the Irlam Trophy, the Best Tri-Service Cadet and even an OBE. A special mention must also go to Elizabeth Bilk, who was awarded the Royal British Legion Long Service Bar for an outstanding 70 years fundraising for the RBL.
At each ceremony we also award the Best Reservist award, which is given to the Reservist, from any of the three services, considered by the selection board to have achieved the most or to have made the greatest contribution to the Reserves during the year. These awards are kindly sponsored by a company from each county who advocate support to defence and the armed forces community and hold either Gold or Silver Employer Recognition Scheme Award.
The Lord-Lieutenants also appoint a number of Cadets from the Combined Cadet Force and each of the community Cadet forces to support them on official engagements over the coming year. The appointment marks the achievement of outstanding service by an individual to their Cadet movement, such as Petty Officer Cadet (VCC) Chloe San-Segundo from HMS Sultan Royal Navy Volunteer Cadet Corps who is always keen to step up and show her leadership and is now part of the Cadet Leadership team where she assists staff with the younger cadets ensuring they learn and follow the values of the VCC and assisting if they need some extra help during lessons. She has also been awarded Deputy Captain for the HMS Sultan RNVCC Field Gun Crew this year, which is no easy feat given the competition for the role and has assumed this role with ease.
We were fortunate to host the ceremonies at some fabulous venues this year. It was a privilege to be back at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for the Royal County of Berkshire awards in the historical setting of the Indian Army Room within Old College. We were also at a number of exciting new locations, with Lancing College for East and West Sussex, Blenheim Palace for Oxfordshire and the Pembroke Building at the University of Greenwich’s Medway Campus for Kent.
The military history within each of these was another exciting aspect for our guests. The likes of Lancing College have a long and proud association with the armed services; in the Second World War it was taken over by the Royal Navy as the training ship HMS King Alfred and hundreds of naval cadets trained there.
Our final ceremony this year was especially poignant as it was the last one for Lt Col (Retd) Peter Ellis QGM*, Deputy Chief Executive (East) and Head of Cadets and Youth here at SERFCA. The Ward Room in the Pembroke Building, also steeped in Naval history, was the perfect setting to thank him for all his hard work over the last 16 years. He adds “It has been a great honour and privilege to have been involved with our Reserves, Adult Volunteers and Cadets over my time with SERFCA, and to see so many worthy recipients honoured by all of our Lord-Lieutenant’s, across the nine counties. Such recipients are superb examples of our Volunteers, who are outstanding ambassadors for their Reserve Units and Cadet Corps.”
The Lord-Lieutenant awards ceremony is a formal and prestigious event; recognising individuals who demonstrate the volunteer ethos and to build and nurture the enduring relationships that are so important to your County and local community. This is done through the awarding of Medals and His Majesty Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificates for Meritorious Service, amongst other awards. His Majesty Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificates for Meritorious Service were instituted in order to afford public recognition to those members of the Reserve and Cadet Forces whose efforts are not recognised by the twice yearly Honours Lists.
To see more pictures from each of the award ceremonies this year, please follow the link below: