Derek (Des) Eccles

Winner of the ACFA Recognising Excellence Award (sponsored by BAE Systems) for Bands and Corps of Drums, CFAV Category

Derek Eccles, from Lancashire ACF, was nominated for the Recognising Excellence award by Commandant Col N Jurd, for his outstanding contribution and commitment to ACF Bands and Corps of Drums.

"SMI Eccles runs an excellent Corps of Drums at Preston, which is in high demand to support county and local community events. There is a high standard of instruction at the unit, which is shown in the proficiency of the drum, bugle and flute players. SMI Eccles has been involved with Lancashire ACF for over 20 years as a cadet and adult instructor.

SMI Eccles has also played a major role in the formation of a Corps of Drums in Cheshire ACF, has supported the Merseyside ACF Corps of Drums and runs regional events to bring cadets together. He has attended Cumbria ACF events to encourage music in that area.

SMI Eccles coordinated the North West Regional Corps of Drums' attendance at the Malta Tattoo - bringing together adults and cadets from Lancashire ACF, Merseyside ACF and Cheshire ACF to give three performances on the island. This has considerably increased retention of cadets and resulted in a significant rise in 4 Star (Music) passes. He contributes a great deal in supporting training and is the PR Officer for Lancashire ACF; a demanding and crucial role in its own right. Critically, his Detachment also supplies many of the additional instructors and equipment for non-music training (e.g. archery, First Aid and shooting). These are vital in retaining cadets and keeping them interested.

In addition to his county responsibilities, SMI Eccles regularly attends the National Music Camps held each year at Altcar (Easter) and Longmoor (October Half Term) by HQ Cadet Force Music.

SMI Eccles also assists HQ Cadet Force Music by taking his COD to national events to show off music to other counties (especially those with little or none). This has included the National Training Officers' Conference (where Lancashire ACF COD played to representatives of 53 ACF counties/sectors) and the ACF Music Summer Tour, which visited several counties to demonstrate the benefits of musical detachments.

SMI Eccles is an excellent instructor and administrator, who has enhanced the standard of music in the ACF at county, regional and national levels. His presence has made a real difference at all three levels and for many years, he has shown self-commitment to the cadets".