Vanessa Rice: Pride of Britain Award

Vanessa Rice: Pride of Britain Award

29 September 2022

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

Our chief fundraiser, Non-Uniformed Volunteer Vanessa Rice, has been nominated for a Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Award and appeared on ITV news along with cadets and adults from Whittlesey Detachment. Now in its 23rd year, this award aims to celebrate the achievements of Britain’s unsung heroes.

Vanessa joined us in 2019 having been inspired by the difference our organisation had made to her son (now) Staff Cadet Under Officer Charlie Rice, and also seeing the transformative impact it had on others. She said; ‘seeing how it helped Charlie, how he grew in confidence, made me want to be able to ensure every child who joined the organisation had the same opportunity, that they could have the same kit, that everybody was the same. I’ve seen cadets progress from this shy, timid….child, to a full-on, I can do anything, and they take those skills with them through their life.’


Vanessa on ITV news.

Vanessa’s extensive local business connections, as well as hard work and dedication, have made a huge difference to Cambs ACF. She has successfully obtained sponsorships and tapped into trust fund money from Buckles Solicitors. Supported by Charlie, she has overseen many cadet charity fundraising events, which together with donations from her business contacts, have raised more than £80,000. This money has made a huge difference to the activities and opportunities Cambs ACF can offer, including funding adventurous activities at Annual Camp, and supporting next years’ trip to Cyprus. Her extraordinary contribution was recognised with the award of the Commandant’s Coin for Excellence in July this year.

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Receiving the Commandant's Coin.

Vanessa was nominated for the award by our Commandant, Colonel Deacon. When ITV contacted her, she was; ‘shocked, it never entered my head that that might happen!’ ITV news visited Vanessa for an interview and then also visited Vanessa’s local detachment, Whittlesey.

Whittlesey Detachment Commander Lt Richard Nicholson said; ‘The cadets were excited, though some were nervous about being in front of the camera, but they were really professional in their endeavours. They showcased the best of the ACF and activities which we do at detachment. Vanessa has been a great support to her son, to Cambridgeshire ACF, and to Whittlesey Detachment specifically.’

The film crew interviewed the Commandant and Charlie and filmed the cadets marching, practising skill at arms and other lessons.

In her interview, Colonel Deacon said of Vanessa; ‘her passion, her determination to get that money is second to none, absolutely fantastic. I give her the shopping list and she tells me she will come up with the goods, and so far, she has, every time.’

Vanessa’s nomination is a fantastic achievement and testament not only to her contribution, but is also representative of the dedication of all our adults and cadets whose work ensures Cambridgeshire ACF continues to change people's lives for the better.

The finals for the award will be held in November.

Text and pictures by SI Doug Stuart