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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



06 May 2016

As HM The Queen’s 90th birthday was celebrated across the UK, cadets from NI played very special roles in the celebrations.

To mark this historic occasion, 1,000 beacons were lit across the UK, with the most Westerly flame being lit in Fermanagh.  There is a long and unbroken tradition of firing beacons to commemorate great royal and national occasions but, for the first time in history, members of the Army Cadet Force, representing the youth of the nation, played their special part in the fiery celebrations.  Parties of the Army cadets took gas-fuelled beacons to the tops of the four highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Mount Snowdon, Wales; Scafell Pike, England, and, here in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard.

Pictured above firing the beacon on top of Slieve Donard are (from left) Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major Joanna Baker from Sullivan Upper School Detachment; Cadet Sergeant Major Dempsey Brown from Clonaver Detachment in East Belfast; Cadet Sergeant Major David Spratt from Ballygowan Detachment and Cadet Sergeant Major David Cooley from Sullivan Upper.

At Ballykinler Cadet Training Centre, local cadets got in on the act with their own birthday tribute.  Pictured after lighting their own birthday beacon are Cadet Lance Corporal Mollie hughes and cadet Sergeant Ellen McKibbe:

And in Portstewart, the Sea Cadets provided a guard of honour as the Causeway Archers display team shot nine flaming arrows for the lighting of a beacon – one for each decade.


But the first beacon to be lit was lit by HM The Queen at Windsor Great Park and Emmalee Wray, 17, from Ballymena Army Cadet Force detachment, had the honour of joining the official party at Windsor and meeting HM The Queen.  Emmalee was one of only 2 cadets selected from the whole of the UK, during a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award residential programme.