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.”
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.”