Sisters Tegan and Cerys Aplin, of North Hykeham Army Cadet Force, Lincs, have achieved something quite unique by being awarded the highly esteemed position of Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet, in consecutive years. In a virtual investiture held on Zoom, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Toby Dennis, welcomed Cerys and thanked Tegan for her service.
Cerys, aged 16, commented: “It’s absolutely amazing to be nominated as the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet. When Tegan got it, I was really proud of her, but with sibling rivalry, I felt a bit jealous. I thought, that’s what I want to do – it spurred me on. Hearing that I was a candidate, I was over the moon.”
“I’m really looking forward to this year, there’ll be great opportunities. It will boost my confidence and I will get to attend all these events with the Lord Lieutenant. I like to challenge myself.”
Cerys enjoys shooting on annual camp
Cerys’ selection was based on various criteria, such as rank and achievements, and then a series of interviews. Her nomination included this glowing statement: “She has shown a maturity beyond her years, so much so that the adult leadership often allow her to help run the evening activities. Using skills learnt, both within Scouting and the Army Cadet Force, Cerys has proved herself as a full member of the leadership team with contributions on planning activities nights and especially for weekend camps away.”
Under Covid, events have inevitably been restricted, but Tegan, 18 years old, is still proud of the opportunity she was given a Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet: “The only physical thing I was able to do this year was the Remembrance service at Lincoln Cathedral. It was a magical experience. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but then, I thought, it’s great to be here, not everybody gets to do it and I was really proud that I was doing it.”
Job prospects before even left school
Tegan taking Morning Muster
Tegan and Cerys have been part of the North Hykeham detachment, Lincolnshire ACF since they were 13. Cerys added: “I love all of Cadets. The opportunities, the new friends, the fact you get to visit different places. You learn things that other people our age wouldn’t typically learn. I’ve got way more qualifications than other people in my school year. Just knowing I’ve got all that in my pocket before I go out into the world of work, I think it’s an amazing thing to have.”
At 18, Tegan has now left Cadets, and is planning a career in the RAF. “Literally, 24 hours after my birthday, I got an email from my RAF Recruiter asking if I wanted to start my training the following Monday! I politely declined that so I could finish my A levels,” commented Tegan.
The girls’ dad, Mark, is a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer in the same unit, and their younger brother Ieuan looks set to follow in their footsteps, as he too is a Cadet.
Fun, new skills and qualifications
Both sisters love the annual Army Cadet camps and highly recommend anyone getting involved in Cadets: “I’ve learned how to shoot several different weapons, like clay pigeon shooting. I’ve done kayaking, abseiling, wall climbing and archery. It’s amazing what’s offered.” Tegan added: “It’s fun! It’s not always running around in a field getting wet! Typically, on our annual camps, you can try fieldcraft, first aid, even go on the ranges for a couple of days, learning to shoot. If you’re lucky, you get to do expedition training, walking in the middle of nowhere with a compass, to try and help your map and compass skills too. Gill scrambling is great too, it’s a thing that’s mainly done in Yorkshire -going down the side of a mountain, streams and rivers, climbing over rocks.”
Cerys and Tegan hiking on Snowdonia last year
The sisters also appreciate the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications. Tegan explained: “I’ve done Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh (DoE), and I’m currently working on my Gold. I completed a First Aid at Work qualification and various BTECs through CVQO. I’ve also got my Marksmanship badge, to prove I’m really good at shooting. I achieved both JCIC and SCIC – Junior and Senior Cadet Instructors Course – which means I am qualified to instruct the Cadets.” Cerys has also achieved her Bronze DoE and is working towards her Silver, and is also undertaking a BTEC course.
Training continued despite Covid
The Aplin family saluting
Instructor training has proved invaluable during lockdown, when Tegan led some of the on-line sessions with Cadets, including quizzes and training. Cerys supported alongside. But both are looking forward to getting back to seeing their friends at Cadets in person. “I can’t wait to get back to face to face, to see everyone, and to help others progress with their training. I also love going to the ranges to practice shooting, which is something you can’t do in your back garden!” quipped Cerys.
Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets are selected from each of the Sea Cadets, Army Cadet Force, Air Cadets and Combined Cadet Force every year, to support them in their role. The Lord Lieutenant organises all official Royal visits and carrying out duties on behalf of the Crown.