The cookie settings on this website are set to ‘allow all cookies’. Leaving your settings to ‘allow all cookies’ means you consent to a website remembering your preferences and generally enhancing the user experience. If you prefer a website to not remember your preferences, you can change your settings at any time by changing the privacy settings of your browser.

Find out more about cookies >

Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



15 January 2019

Celebrating a golden career in the Army Cadet Force is Ballymena girl Emmalee Wray, pictured with proud mum Debbie-Lee arriving at St James Palace to collect the coveted Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

For nineteen-year-old Emmalee, the award marks the successful conclusion of five years with the Ballymena Detachment of the Army Cadet Force, where she proved a high achieving as well as a popular and enthusiastic Cadet.

She says of her time there, “After achieving my Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards within the Cadets, I couldn’t wait to start to work towards my Gold. I chose netball as my sport and singing as my skill – two activities which I really enjoyed and will keep up.

“The residential section of my DoE was run at Ballykinler in County Down, but it involved Cadets from right across the UK.  Together we took part in all sorts of outdoor activities and we earned leadership qualifications.  As a bonus, when I completed that residential training, I discovered that I had been selected to represent the Army Cadet Force UK as the Queen’s Cadet at her 90th birthday beacon lighting at Windsor Castle. It was one of the best experiences of my life and meeting HRH the Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh was something I will never forget and would never have achieved if it were not for the Army Cadet Force.

“The qualifications and experiences I gained as a Cadet - which included a six week Canadian exchange - proved incredibly useful when I was compiling my personal statement when applying to universities. Today I am a student at Newcastle University and, of course, I have joined the University Officer Training Corps there!”

Congratulating Emmalee, Colonel Adrian Donaldson, Commandant of 1st (NI) Battalion Army Cadet Force, said, “Emmalee is very quick to highlight everything she has gained from the Cadet movement, but I have to say she also put a huge amount into the ACF and it was a pleasure to have such a great asset in the Detachment.  Her good humour, determined attitude and enthusiasm combined to make her a fantastic Cadet, as reflected in her success in the Cadet Leadership Course and Senior Cadet Instructor Cadre. We wish Emmalee continued success as she steps into the University Officer Training Corps and she can be assured that our superb Cadets here in the Battalion are continuing the good work!”