Today 20 young people from across the UK were announced as CVQO Westminster Award finalists and have now reached the expedition stage of this year’s competition.
Amongst these is ex-Dorset ACF Cadet Company Sgt Major, Ella McAlister, formally of Christchurch Detachment.
Ella, who was nominated for the 2020 Westminster Award, has since ‘aged out’ of the Army Cadets having reached 18 but will still represent Dorset in the finals which have been deferred by a year due to the Covid pandemic. She will join this year's finalists as 10 young people from each of the past two years, come together for a combined expedition to Cornwall in late July where they will be working with local charities, schools, and a worldwide humanitarian aid organisation on a varied programme of activities. Oh, and of course there will be plenty of “fun stuff”, too!
This year they are also doing things a little differently when it comes to the finalists ‘House of Lords lunch.’ This will take place on Thursday 16 September, where two winners (one for 2020 and one for 2021) will be crowned.
Dorset ACF’s CVQO Officer, Capt Kerry Barker said; “Following her nomination for the CVQO Westminster Award in 2020, Ella was successful in getting to the selection event which, because of Covid, did not happen. She was invited to attend a Virtual Selection Event in April 2021 where she attended four days of online activities, all done with other finalists from 2020/2021.”
Capt. Barker added; “I am so pleased Ella was successful in getting to the final 20 and secured a place on a trip to Cornwall. She has undertaken a number of CVQO qualifications throughout her time in cadets and is more than deserving of a place on the trip, I really hope that she enjoys the experience and getting to meet the others face to face for the first time.”
Speaking of her nomination and on reaching the final 10 for the 2020 cohort Ella said;
“I am immensely proud to have made the final ten in what has been an unusual set of circumstances. Although Covid meant I’ve come to the end of my Cadet journey before I got to finish the Award process, I am over the moon that I can continue to represent Dorset ACF a little longer. I’d like to thank all the Adult Instructors for their support and encouragement throughout my whole time as a Cadet, it’s all come together in this amazing opportunity.”