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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



11 August 2021

Two East Belfast teenagers have been appointed to serve as Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets for the County Borough of Belfast.

Darcie McKee from Belfast Eagle Sea Cadets in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter  and Cadet Lance Corporal Emily-Louise Gray from the Grosvenor Grammar School Detachment of the Army Cadet Force will each take on a largely ceremonial year-long role during which they will attend Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, CBE, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the city, on major civic occasions.  In recognition of the award the girls will be entitled to wear a special insignia on their uniforms throughout their year in office.

In the Citation which accompanies the honour, Able Cadet Darcie is praised as ‘a passionate and respected young woman with exemplary personal attributes.’

Darcie has earned the trust and respect of all at Belfast Eagle and is particularly noted for her work in training and mentoring junior cadets in her unit, and in representing Northern Ireland Sea Cadets in National Competitions. In 2019 Darcie was selected from 14,000 cadets across the United Kingdom to attend an International Exchange programme to Hong Kong.

She is recognised as an exceptional leader and has collected several awards for her participation and involvement in the local community. In addition, fun-loving Darcie is a keen paddler and a member of her local paddle sports club, where she commits much of her spare time to training, coaching and mentoring the less able members and hopes to qualify as a coach later this year. She is also a member of her local running club where, with her usual giving spirit, she helps the club by training and assisting new members.

Grosvenor student Cadet Lance Corporal Emily-Louise Gray is described in her award Citation as a young woman who ‘has demonstrated utmost dedication to her Detachment and Company, inspiring her peers and remaining the consummate role model to others, always leading from the front and encouraging others to achieve their full potential. Intelligent and articulate, Emily-Louise has a natural ability to enthuse all those around her.’

Her commitment to her school Detachment has seen Emily-Louise emerge as 
a particularly effective instructor in a wide range of Cadet activities, notably sport where her skills and standards both set her apart as a competing individual and make her an inspiration in team situations.

Hard working, adaptable and thoroughly reliable, her boundless energy extends beyond the Cadet movement and, in addition to her ACF activities, she makes time to play hockey and study music to a high level. 

The pair are already looking forward to a busy year ahead as restrictions lift.  They are pictured following the socially-distanced ceremony which marked the conferral of their prestigious award.  Alongside Emily-Louise are her proud dad John, and Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, CBE, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast.