Reservists, Cadets and Adult Volunteers from across Merseyside honoured by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant
Part-time Reservists, young cadets and volunteers with the cadet organisations have been honoured by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant during the annual Lord-Lieutenant’s Awards for Merseyside.
The ceremony was held on the evening of Thursday 25 May at St Georges Hall, Liverpool, attended by recipients, their families and friends, and special guests. The presentations were made by Dame Lorna Muirhead, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Merseyside.
During the ceremony Cadet Flight Sergeant Anthony Kenny, aged 19 and from Norris Green, was awarded the prestigious appointment of Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet for Merseyside, one of the highest honours a Cadet can achieve, in recognition of his outstanding service in the Air Cadets. The accolade means Anthony will hold the position of Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet for Merseyside from September this year, and will assist the Lord-Lieutenant during formal duties including Royal visits to the area. Anthony joined 1913 (Knotty Ash) Squadron Air Cadets in 2012 aged 14. In addition to gaining a number of qualifications and attending several camps, Anthony says one of his best experiences was an hour long flight in a Chinook helicopter. This year he hopes to gain an apprenticeship in engineering.
Anthony said: “I am really honoured to be appointed Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet. This tops everything and anything I have ever achieved during my five years as an Air Cadet.”
Sixteen Reservists, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Cadets were also presented with Her Majesty’s Lieutenant Governor’s Certificate of Meritorious Service, recognised as a laudatory honour throughout the Armed Forces, and Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant’s Commendation.
Colonel Mark Underhill, Chief Executive of the North West Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association which runs the awards, said: “The Lord-Lieutenant’s Awards give us an opportunity to recognise the selfless commitment and dedication of the men and women who serve in our nation’s Reserve Forces. We also recognise the achievements of the young people and adults who are members of the Cadet organisations. The Cadet movement offers unparalleled opportunities for young people in our region to learn, grow and excel. We must ensure that these opportunities continue to be accessible to young people from all backgrounds, and this is only possible with the support of the dedicated Adult Volunteers who deliver the quality experiences, adventure and community projects our cadets enjoy.”
- Mr Roy Tarling, Caretaker, 103 Regiment Royal Artillery (aged 51 from St Helens)
- WO2 Neil Olsson, 33 Signal Squadron (aged 54 from Birkenhead)
- Capt Mike Hanna, Second in Command , 33 Signal Squadron (aged 40 from Altrincham)
- WO1 Gavin Holden, Bandmaster, Band of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (aged 47 and from Warrington)
- Mr Ian Wilson, Vehicle Examiner, 156 Regiment Royal Logistics Corp (aged 50 from Litherland)
- WO2 Michael Murphy, Master Chef, 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital (aged 56 from Stockbridge Village)
- Mr Duncan Allan, Store Keeper, 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital (aged 56 from Blackburn)
- Flt Sgt Steve Ravenscroft, 611 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force (aged 50 from Preston)
- RSMI Stephen Halvorsen, Merseyside Army Cadet Force (aged 59 from Kirkby)
- SMI Keith Shelbourne, Merseyside Army Cadet Force (aged 70 from Stockbridge Village)
- SMI Jennifer Carmichael, Merseyside Army Cadet Force (aged 34 from Bootle)
- Flt Lt Daniel Freeney, No 10 Air Experience Flight, Air Cadets (aged 43 from Wigan)
- Cdt WO Alexander Mitchell, 2348 (Maghull) Squadron Air Cadets (aged 20 from Aintree Village)
- PO Cdt Melissa Davies, City of Liverpool Sea Cadets (aged 17 from Norris Green)
- PO Cdt Carys O’Sullivan, Huyton with Roby Sea Cadets (aged 18 from Croxteth Park)
- Maj Paul Knight, Liverpool University Officers Training Corps (aged 46 from Speke)
Mr Roy Tarling, 51, St Helens
Roy Tarling has worked as the caretaker at the headquarters of Army Reserve unit 102 Regiment Royal Artillery in St Helens for three years. In that time he has gone far and above what might be expected of him, running the bar with the headquarters, refurbishing coffee rooms, running ‘tea and toast’ morning, relaying carpets and caring for the historic memorials within the barracks. He was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his hard work and commitment. Roy, aged 51, lives onsite at Jubilee Barracks St Helens with his wife.
Roy said: “I hope that using my experiences and skills I have made a difference. I never thought those early years of apprenticeship would come in useful! I must admit I was surprised and overwhelmed by the thought that my colleagues had facilitated this award for me.”
WO2 Neil Olssen, 54, Birkenhead
Warrant Officer Class Two Neil Olsson, aged 54 and from Birkenhead, is Squadron Sergeant Major with Army Reserve unit 33 Signal Squadron. He joined the Army Reserve, then called the Territorial Army, in 1983. He has served as a Reservist Radio Telegraphist on exercises in the UK and abroad, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. He was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his long and distinguished career with the Army Reserve. Neil is married and has three children. In his civilian life, Neil works as a Quality Assurance Engineer with Merseyrail Electrics.
Neil said: “I joined the Army Reserve after getting interested through a friend at work. I wanted to do something interesting with my weekends. I’m honoured and surprised to receive this award.”
Capt Mike Hanna, 40, Altrincham
Captain Mike Hanna joined the Territorial Army, now known as the Army Reserve, in 1994. In 2005 he deployed to Iraq, and in 2010 he was appointed Squadron Sergeant Major and later Squadron Second in Command of 33rd Signal Squadron based in Huyton, Merseyside. Commended as a caring and compassionate officer, he was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit for his Reserve service. Aged 40, Mike is married with two children and lives in Altrincham. In his civilian job he is a Programme Manager with Telent Technology Services.
Mike said: “The Army Reserve has always been part of my life. I met my wife in the Army Reserve. I’m honoured to receive this award. Across the county there are thousands of Navy, Army and Air Force Reservists who work hard to balance their time between their families, their careers and their Reserve duties. My time with the Army Reserve had given me opportunities and experiences most people don’t get, and this award on top of all of that has left me humbled.”
Bandmaster Gavin Holden, 47, Warrington
Bandmaster Gavin Holden, aged 47 and from Warrington, was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit for his outstanding services to the Army Reserve. Gavin joined the Army Reserve in 2010 following a 25 year career as a Bandmaster in the Regular Army, seeing service in Northern Island and Iraq. He is currently Bandmaster of Merseyside-based Army Reserve unit the Band of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. An experienced conductor, Gavin’s leadership has seen the band develop a national reputation for musical quality, representing the county at international events.
Gavin said: “I was very surprised to receive this award and I feel extremely honoured. It is certainly one of the major highlights in my 32 year career, and would not have been possible without the support of my family.”
Mr Ian Wilson, 50, Litherland
Ian Wilson works as a civilian vehicle examiner for Army Reserve unit 156 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, based in Allerton, Liverpool. Ian, who has been in the role since 1989, was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his support to the unit during a recent period of change and challenge. Ian’s work to keep the unit’s vehicles serviced and available during this period was described as “immaculate”. Ian, aged 50, lives in Litherland with his wife Kim.
Ian said: “I am extremely proud and honoured to be receiving this award. I am also very surprised, as it’s not something I would have expected. It will mean a lot to me and my family, and although it was completely unexpected it will be gratefully received.”
WO2 Michael Murphy, 56, Stockbridge Village
Warrant Officer Class Two Michael Murphy is a Reservist Master Chef with 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital, based on Merseyside. He joined the Army Reserve, then called the Territorial Army, in 1985 and has served in Norway, Germany, Belgium and Holland. He was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his extra support to the unit’s social events as well as supporting the Army Cadet unit based at the Army Reserve Centre. Aged 56, Michael lives with his wife Michelle and daughter Faye in Stockbridge Village. In his day job he is a Site Manager for Sodexo Defence Services.
Michael said: “I am very proud to receive this award in recognition of the service I have given to the Regular and Reserve Forces. Thanks to the quartermaster at 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital who put me in for this honour.”
Mr Duncan Allan
Duncan Allan, aged 56 and from Blackburn, is Store Keeper for Army Reserve medics 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital, based in Childwall. He joined the unit in 1982 and served as a Reservist during the first Gulf War in 1991. In 2002 he became a civil servant employed by the unit. In honour of 35 years outstanding service as a Reservist and as unit staff, Duncan was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit.
Duncan said: “I am honoured to receive this award, and honoured by the acknowledgement of my service to the Army Reserve.”
Flt Lt Steve Ravenscroft, 50, Preston
Flight Lieutenant Steve Ravenscroft is a part-time Reservist with Merseyside-based 611 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force. An Air Cadet in his youth, Steve had always had an interest in the RAF, and as a Technical Manager with BAE Systems in his civilian job he works with military aircraft. He joined the RAF Reserves in 2004, and has since seen deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the ceremony Steve was praised as an outstanding ambassador for the RAF Reserves, and presented with the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit. Steve, aged 50, is married with three children and lives in Preston.
Steve said: “I joined the RAF Reserves as I realised I had the capacity to do something outside my normal routine which would be a worthwhile achievement, something to look back on with pride. I’m also an ambassador for the Reserve Forces with my employer BAE Systems, helping to ensure support to our company Reservists.
“I was very surprised and greatly honoured to receive the award. I wasn’t aware that I had been nominated – usually, I’m the person who nominates others for recognition! The phone call from my unit was a real surprise. I’m very proud of my achievement as an RAF Reservist but am just doing my job. It’s very rewarding to know that my efforts are appreciated.”
SMI Keith Shelbourne, 70, Stockbridge Village
Keith Shelbourne is one of the longest serving and most committed volunteers in the history of Merseyside Army Cadet Force. Aged 70 and from Stockbridge Village, Keith recently retired as a Sergeant Major Instructor, but continues to support the Army Cadets as a Civilian Assistant. He originally joined Army Cadets as an Instructor in 1995, following a career in the Army during which he saw service in the Middle East, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Germany and Northern Ireland. He was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit for his passion and enthusiasm.
Keith said: “I enjoy my service supporting cadets for their future in life. I was taken by surprise by this award, it really came out of the blue. I’m really proud to receive it, it’s a great honour for me.”
SMI Jennifer Carmichael, 34, Bootle
Sergeant Major Instructor Jennifer Carmichael, aged 34 and from Bootle, joined Bootle Army Cadets as an Adult Volunteer in 2001 and is now Detachment Commander. In addition to being a mother of two, she runs one of the most successful detachments in Merseyside, and was recognised by the Lord-Lieutenant for the positive impact her work has had on adults and cadets in Bootle.
Jennifer said: “I was a cadet myself when I was younger and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt I wanted to give of that back. I was surprised to be nominated for this award. I love being an Adult Instructor, it challenges me every day. To receive an award for doing something you love is very humbling.”
Flt Lt Daniel Freeney, 43, Wigan
Flight Lieutenant Daniel Freeney, aged 43 and from Wigan, joined the Air Cadets as a cadet in 1988. He became an Adult Instructor in 1996, and now volunteers with 10 Air Experience Flight at Woodvale which teaches flying and gliding to Air Cadets. He was honoured by the Lord-Lieutenant for his excellent service to the Air Cadet Organisaiton. Daniel is married with two children, and is a train driver with Northern Rail.
Daniel said: “I’m very proud to receive this award. There are many roles which the public are unaware of which make the Cadet organisations run efficiently. It is a great honour to be recognised for my contribution.”
Cdt Wo Alexander Mitchell, 20, Aintree Village
Alexander Mitchell, aged 20 and from Aintree Village, joined 2348 (Maghull) Squadron Air Cadets in 2010 as a 13-year-old cadet. As an Air Cadet, Alexander completed his Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, attended camps as far afield as Cyprus, and completed the gruelling Nijmegen Marches in The Netherlands. He has now reached the maximum age for an Air Cadet, but plans to continue as an Adult Volunteer. He received the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his contribution as an outstanding cadet.
Alexander, aged 20 and from Aintree Village, said: “I was quite shocked the award notification arrived – it took a while to sink in! This award surpasses anything else I achieved as an Air Cadet. I’m grateful to our Commanding Officer Ian Taylor and his staff for all they have helped me achieve. All I have learnt will put me in good stead when I apply to join the RAF on graduating from university. It’s been an amazing seven years!”
PO Cdt Melissa Davies, 17, Norris Green
Petty Officer Cadet Melissa Davies, aged 17 and from Norris Green, joined Sea Cadets in 2011. Some of her experiences to date have included being appointed Sea Cadet Standard Bearer at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and greeting Her Majesty the Queen on the steps of the Town Hall during her visit to Liverpool. She received the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit for exceptional service with the Sea Cadets.
Melissa said: “I am proud to say I grew up in City of Liverpool Sea Cadets. I was shocked that I was nominated for this award. I wouldn’t have achieved it if it weren’t for my unit.”
PO Cdt Carys O’Sullivan, 18, Croxteth Park
Petty Officer Cadet Carys O’Sullivan joined Huyton with Roby Sea Cadets when she was 10 years old. As a Sea Cadet, Carys has travelled all over the UK and abroad as far as Gibraltar. In 2016 she was chosen as the Navy Board Cadet for the North West Area, which meant she represented the Sea Cadets at national events including the Battle of Jutland commemorations in Belfast. She also had lunch with the Queen in Liverpool Town Hall during her visit to the city. Carys is aged 18 and from Croxteth Park. She attends Broughton Hall High School.
Carys said: “I am very honoured to receive this prestigious award. It’s something I wasn’t expecting and I’m very proud to be recognised for my commitment to Sea Cadets. I’m currently in my final year of A Levels and next year I’m planning to study chemistry at university.”
Maj Paul Knight, 46, Speke
Maj Paul Knight, aged 46 and from Speke, was awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Commendation for his services to remembrance and the centenary of the First World War. Paul joined the Army Reserve as a University Officer Cadet in Lancaster in 1993. After leaving university he served as a Reservist in Kosovo from 1999 to 2000, and in Iraq in 2005 and 2007. More recently, as Army project officer for the First World War commemorations in the North West, he has encouraged people from different communities and age groups across the region to become involved in remembrance.
Paul said: “I was very surprised to be put forward for this award. You don’t think about these things when you’re working on projects. The Somme 100 parade last summer was the biggest thing I have ever worked on.”