A Neston-based cadet warrant officer has been honoured  with a top accolade.

Cadet warrant officer Natalie Fields, of 2375 (Neston) Squadron, was presented with the prized Dacre Brooch by air commodore Dawn  McCaffery, RAFR, Commandant  Air Cadets, for being  chosen as the best female cadet in  the air training corps.

The Dacre Brooch is the highest award any female air cadet can achieve.

In 1979, Elizabeth Dacre MBE  presented to the air training corps  the dress sword of her late husband, Air Commodore G B Dacre  CBE, to be presented to the ATC  Cadet of the Year.

With the advent of girls in 1982,  Mrs Dacre presented the corps  with a diamond brooch mounted  on a sash, for presentation to the  best female cadet.

Since 1983, the Dacre Sword and  the Dacre Brooch have been awarded annually, with selection being  based on the all-round performance of the cadets nominated  firstly by their wing HQ, and, then  by their regional commandants.

The squadron, VIPs from wing  HQ and regional HQ, along with  members of Natalie’s family, all  gathered at the Royal British Legion, Neston for the presentation.

The air commodore outlined the  history of the Dacre Brooch, and  the process in deciding who should  gain the award. 

She then went on to outline Natalie’s achievements.

Since joining the Air Cadet Organisation at 13, she has managed  to gain a flying scholarship, gliding  wings, Gold Duke of Edinburgh  Award, a BTEC in public services  and BTEC in aviation studies.

She was also an ambassador for  the corps when she took part in the  2013 International Air Cadet Exchange to the Netherlands. She has  also attended numerous camps,  both at home and abroad.

Natalie has also been a keen  sports person, taking part in all  sports at squadron, wing, region  and corps levels.

She said: “Today, I stand here as  the 2013 Dacre Brooch winner.  I’m  very humbled to receive this  award.

“I know this means a lot, to lots of  people, and I’d like to say a very big  thank you to all the staff of 2375  (Neston) Squadron, wing staff, regional staff and my family.

“If it wasn’t for their commitment, which is all voluntary, all the  cadets and I wouldn’t be able to  experience the things that we do.”

Cadet warrant officer Natalie Fields speaking at the presentation with air commodore Dawn McCaffery, RAFR, Commandant Air Cadets
Cadet warrant officer Natalie Fields speaking at the presentation with air commodore Dawn McCaffery, RAFR, Commandant Air Cadets
 

She is hoping for a career in the  RAF in air traffic control. But for  now, she’s putting her energy in to  giving something back to the  squadron and helping other cadets  achieve.

The officer commanding 2375  (Neston) squadron, flight lieutenant Paul Thelwell, said: “Natalie  has been in cadets for over five  years, and with a little help from  the staff and the squadron, has  achieved the ultimate prize a female cadet can achieve.

“A totally dedicated cadet, the  cadet warrant officer is the first to  cadet to obtain this aware on the  squadron, and only the second female cadet in Merseyside to win  it.

“Natalie would love to pursue her  career in the RAF, and, I am sure  that this award will stand her in  good stead.”