Two of Ayrshire's adult volunteers with the Cadet Force have received prestigious awards - after being nominated by the young people they work with

Flying Officer David McKay, 1138 (Ardrossan) Air Cadets and Sergeant Rhianna Skipsey, Tarbolton Detachment, were among just 10 adult volunteers from the Lowlands of Scotland to win the the Cadet Adult Recognition Awards honour.

On winning the Air Cadets West CARA, David said: "For a lot of other awards, we’re put forward by other Cadet Force Adult Volunteers or by permanent members of staff within the Air Cadets.

"But for this one specifically, unlike nearly every other award that you can be nominated for - it’s nominated by a Cadet, so it’s a young person you have helped, done something good for and made a difference to and that’s really what matters."

Rhianna, who won the CARA for West Lowland Army Cadet Force, said: "I was a Cadet myself so to see myself get this award is a massive deal because I do this to make a change and help the Cadets themselves.

"If 12-year-old me was stood here right now watching me get this award, I think she’d be very surprised.

"She walked in the door as a Cadet and had no idea what was coming and was terrified. I never expected to get as far as I did as a Cadet, let alone as an adult instructor.’

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sgt Rhianna SkipseySgt Rhianna Skipsey (Image: Lowland RFCA)

For the past four years, the Cadet Adult Recognition Awards (CARAs) has sought to acknowledge the dedication and selflessness of the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) who give their time and talents to help young people aged 12-18 develop new skills, prepare for adult life and make friendships that can last a lifetime.

All nominations for the CARAs are submitted by Cadet members of the Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps and Air Training Corps.

Now in its fourth year, the CARAs 2023 received a record number of nominations, highlighting the immense admiration the Cadets have for their adult instructors.

Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) has been running the CARAs annually since 2020, and hosted an online award ceremony on its YouTube channel on Friday, September 15.

The awards show this year also featured extreme adventurer, bestselling author and Army Cadet Force ambassador Jordan Wylie MBE as its co-presenter.

Jordan, star of Channel 4’s ‘Hunted’, said: "I think these awards are really important. Lots of CFAVs volunteer because they’re selfless, not looking for recognition. That’s what makes it so important that they do actually get some recognition. I think for the Cadets to be able to nominate and say thank you for their time is really special and important."

Each of the winning CFAVs gave moving acceptance speeches, thanking the Cadets for taking the time to nominate them and showing appreciation for all the work they do.

Kate Johnston, Lowland RFCA Head of Communications said: ‘Focussed on developing and prospering the next generation, CFAVs work tirelessly to deliver fun and helpful training for Cadets.

"Year after year, these volunteers selflessly support and engage these young people.

"Well done to all of this year’s winners, you clearly mean alot to your Cadets and are making a real difference to their lives’

As well as receiving a prestigious CARAs certificate, each winner was also presented with a gift voucher sponsored by a local business. This gives Lowland organisations an opportunity to show support for the hard-working adult volunteers, some of whom are members of their own workforces.

Lochlie Construction Group sponsored FO David McKay’s award for Air Cadets Award and Currie European, a transport and logistics company, sponsored Sergeant Skipsey’s award.