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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



02 May 2019

Portadown teenager Rebecca Pinkerton has been honoured at a formal ceremony at Hillsborough Castle where she was appointed to the role of Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for the County of Armagh.

Rebecca who is an enthusiastic and high-flying Cadet Corporal with The Royal School Armagh Combined Cadet Force, will be one of eleven Lord Lieutenants’ Cadets taking on a year-long role which is largely ceremonial. She can expect a busy year ahead, attending The Earl of Caledon, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the County of Armagh, on major civic occasions.  In recognition of the award, Rebecca will wear a special insignia on her uniform throughout her year in office.

The lively 16-year-old has already chalked up an illustrious record of achievement as a Cadet, in school and beyond. Rebecca joined the Army Section of the Combined Cadet Force in September 2015 and has made a significant contribution since then, earning the Army Proficiency Certificate (Advanced) and St John Ambulance Youth First Aid certificate.  She is currently working towards the completion of the National Navigation Bronze Award and also the BTEC qualification in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community. 

The Citation which accompanies her award, refers to the pride which Rebecca has taken in being part of Armagh’s annual Remembrance Day commemorations and highlights her role as a junior Cadet Instructor, providing an excellent role model for younger cadets, inspiring and motivating them to achieve their full potential. 

Rebecca has represented her school Contingent in a number of different competitions but perhaps most notably as part of the winning team, two years running, in the Local Heroes competition.  The insight which participation in this competition gave her into the atrocities of WW1 prompted Rebecca to enter the international ‘Never Such Innocence’ competition with her poem, ‘The Poppy’.

The work was placed third out of more than 7000 entries from across the Commonwealth and Rebecca was the only UK Cadet to win a prize. The Vice- Chief of Defense Staff presented Rebecca with her certificate in The Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London, and Rebecca was subsequently invited to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace to read her poem.

Rebecca’s ability to perform at public events was clearly recognized as she was selected to read a prayer in front on Her Majesty The Queen, in Westminster Abbey during the National Armistice Service on Remembrance Sunday. Her poem will shortly be published in a special book collated by the Glasnevin Trust to mark the Armistice Centenary. 

Rebecca’s considerable energies have also been channeled into other areas of life at The Royal School and she has represented the school playing rugby, hockey, swimming, orienteering and rowing. She has also played hockey at club level for Armagh. 

Rebecca is a proficient swimmer having been a member of Banbridge Swimming Club and RSA Swim Team from the age of 8. She has represented her school and club at regional, national & international level and has attended the Ulster Schools Tenerife Swimming Training Camp. Whilst on these camps she was captain for two years and she is now a mentor for younger swimmers. Rebecca started to complete triathlons and it wasn’t long before she was representing the school at the Ulster Schools Triathlon championships. She has even been involved in promoting the sport at an event with the Brownlee Brothers at the National Aquatic Centre.

From the age of 12 Rebecca has rowed for Portadown Rowing Club and RSA-Rowing Team. She has represented her school and local club at regional, national & international level. These events included the Irish Schools Rowing Championships at O’Brien’s Bridge where she won her class in 2016 and 2017. She has also rowed at the Irish Rowing Championships in Cork, the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships at the UL Arena Limerick, the British Indoor Rowing Championships at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and numerous regattas throughout Ireland. 

As a fun event to trial, Rebecca completed the Lap the Lough. The route for this venture travels 156km/97.5 miles anti-clockwise round the circumference of Lough Neagh.

Rebecca has been a member of Knocknamuckley Girls Brigade since she was four and last year, before moving to Brigadier, won Best Senior Girl. She participates in local and regional events with her squad. This year as part of Rebecca’s DoE Silver Award, she is volunteering by assisting with the Explorers Section. Rebecca is also a member of Craigavon Christian Youth and has attended their annual summer camps since she was 8 years old. 

Rebecca likes to help those in need. In 2016 she had her long hair cut short for the Little Princess Trust. She donated her hair to the trust because they provide real hair wigs for children suffering from hair loss. When Rebecca was planning her 14th birthday she decided to organise a Bog Run with her friends in Castlewellan Forest Park. She managed to raise over £800 for the NI Cancer Fund for Children.

Praising the tireless teen, the Award Citation concludes, “Rebecca has clearly demonstrated on numerous occasions that she is at ease in all types of company, relating well to both her peers and Contingent staff. Rebecca has been an outstanding example of an ambassador for the Contingent, school and the wider cadet movement. Her vast range of achievements and her experiences, allied with her bright lively disposition and outgoing manner, make Rebecca a very well respected and popular cadet … very well suited and capable of discharging with distinction, the role of Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet.”