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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



11 March 2016

Belfast Army Cadet Dempsey Brown is a finalist in the competition to find the top Cadet in the United Kingdom.  

17 year-old Dempsey is one of twenty-seven young people short-listed to battle for the honours in this year’s CVQO Duke of Westminster challenge.  Next month she’ll be joining the other contestants in the wilds of the Quantock Hills in Somerset as they tackle an uber-tough four day selection process packed with mental as well as physical exercises.

Nine Cadets from that exercise will earn places on a unique two-week educational expedition to South Africa in July – and one of those selected for the South African adventure will emerge victorious as the CVQO Duke of Westminster Award winner for 2016 at a ceremony in the House of Lords.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for the talented teens and Dempsey, an A Level student, is determined to make the most of it.  The high flying Cadet who already has a string of achievements to her credit says, “I’m delighted to have made the short list and I’m really looking forward to the challenge in Somerset over the Easter holidays. I’m sure it will be tough, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet cadets from all over the UK and enjoy some adventure training and competition.  After that, who knows? I’ll certainly be trying my very hardest to win one of those places on the South African trip!”

CVQO, the organization behind the award, is a registered charity in the UK which provides an alternative route to employment and higher education for learners in the UK.  The CVQO team say that the Duke of Westminster Award isn’t just about being a great Cadet: they’re looking for young people who go beyond the Cadet experiences, who become valuable members of their communities and who show a willingness selflessly to help others.

Dempsey was nominated to compete for the annual Award by her cadet detachment at Clonaver in recognition of her exceptional community spirit, hard work and enthusiasm for helping others. 

Colonel Keith Dowell, Cadet Commandant 2nd(NI) Battalion Army Cadet Force says, “Dempsey is already an outstanding Cadet and we are delighted to see her achieve this latest recognition.  In her five years as a Cadet she has worked her way up to Master Cadet status, has earned her Duke of Edinburgh Gold award and has become one of our most able and enthusiastic Senior Cadet Instructors, passing on her knowledge and expertise to others. 

“She is always ready to capitalize on any opportunity which comes her way and that great ‘can-do’ attitude has served her well, not only in the Cadet movement but also in school where she is a strong student and sportswoman and also within the wider community acting as a volunteer.  Everything she undertakes she tackles to the best of her ability and always with huge good humour and an infectious sense of fun!”

Those Cadets lucky enough to win a place on the South Africa expedition will be working with local schools there, taking part in an environmental awareness programme and learning about the country’s history.

About CVQO:
CVQO is a registered charity in the UK that provides an alternative route to employment and higher education for learners in the UK. The charity manages internationally recognised vocational qualifications for young people and their instructors in uniformed youth organisations. 

The qualifications and awards on offer are accredited by Edexcel, City & Guilds, and the Institute of Leadership and Management to reflect the valuable skills, such as leadership, teambuilding, problem-solving, communication, health and physical fitness that young people and adults learn through cadet and youth organisations. By offering qualifications designed to develop and improve these important practical skills CVQO aims to provide its members with greater opportunities in both the workplace and in higher education. Visit