16 October 2019
Congratulations to Cadets Ben Harbottle and Amy Barbour, who both aged 16, were awarded the British Citizen youth Award at a formal presentation at the Palace of Westminster.
The event took place at the Houses of Parliament, with family, friends and VIP's in attendance.
Cadet Sergeant Major (Sgt Maj) Ben Harbottle
Unable to speak properly until he was nine years old, Ben spent much of his early years being ignored and labelled, the knock-on effect was that his confidence was significantly affected.
At primary school, he was bullied, so he chose to go to a different secondary school to his former classmates. When he started there and because of his poor academic performance, he ended up in groups with under achievers who had no interest in learning. It was then that Ben set himself a personal challenge to pass his GCSE’s with the best grades possible. It was also during this time that he joined Durham ACF, as a way to meet new people and develop his confidence.
Since joining the ACF, Ben has been on the Cadet Exchange to Canada, became a 4 Star Staff Sergeant Major, passed his Master Cadet course and has been appointed Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for Tyne & Wear for 2019.
Despite setbacks, in 2018, Ben’s challenge paid off, he worked hard and went on to achieve excellent grades in his GCSE’s, surpassing all expectations. His personal journey has been a testament to his dedication and determination. Ben’s ambition is to become an Army Officer.
"I am still overwhelmed that I was even nominated to receive a British Citizen youth Award, never mind be chosen to receive one. I was determined not to let my speech and education difficulties stop me achieving my goals, but the Army Cadet Force inspired me to aim even higher.
"My motto since being young has been ‘attitude determines altitude’ and I really feel that with hard work, dedication and good support the sky really can be the limit."
Cadet Sgt Maj Ben Harbottle
Cadet Sergeant Major (Sgt Maj) Amy Barbour
From the age of five Amy has been a young carer, but despite this pressure, she has studied tirelessly at school to achieve A grades. In what spare time she had, Amy joined the ACF where she became an integral member of the detachment; despite all the challenges she faced.
Amy has taken her Highers early and wants to go to medical school, with the ultimate dream of becoming a doctor in the Army.
"I didn’t know that I had been nominated for the award - I was in total shock when I found out. The ceremony was a phenomenal, once in a lifetime experience with an emphasis on pro-activity in our generation.
"Given the common misconception that young people are unmotivated, trouble-makers living their lives online, it was incredibly encouraging and inspiring to see the achievements, qualities and skills of so many of my peers. I am extremely proud to have the award, in recognition of my involvement and contribution within the community.
"However, I am even more grateful to my battalion for the unfaltering support they have given me - without which I would not have been able to overcome as many obstacles as I have."
Attending as a guest of Cadet Barbour, Colonel Stuart Williams OBE said.
“I felt deeply honoured to be at the Palace of Westminster, to see these inspirational young Cadets receive their British Citizen youth Awards . Whilst both these young people have faced adversity in their young lives, they have each gone on to achieve so much. I hope they are as proud of themselves as I am of them.
"To quote Lord Blunkett 'Young people really do make a difference' to which I would add 'Sir, they do in the Army Cadets' and that is why we had two amazing Army Cadets being presented with their awards today.
“This accolade demonstrates how incredible young people can be and very much lies at the heart of everything that the Army Cadets stands for, to inspire young people to achieve success in life and become good valued citizens.”