Killyleagh duo are honoured with awards at Stormont

Killyleagh duo are honoured with awards at Stormont

11 April 2018

TWO Killyleagh people have been honoured at a formal ceremony at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

Andrew Cranston who has given 27 years’ outstanding service to the Army Reserve in Northern Ireland, earned the Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate for Outstanding Meritorious Service Above and Beyond The Call of Duty – an award which is second in importance only to one presented by the Queen.

At the same ceremony 16-year-old Toni Walker, a member of Killyleagh Detachment Army Cadet Force was appointed to serve as Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for the County of Down.

In the citation which accompanies his award, Lance Corporal Cranston is described as “the epitome of a modern, dynamic and highly talented trainer who has been instrumental in developing the Army Reserve in Northern Ireland… highly accomplished role model and mentor.”

As a highly qualified physical training instructor, super-fit Lance Corporal Cranston has made a significant and meaningful contribution to training, introducing an innovative and creative approach, while his commitment and enthusiasm to recruit training is evidenced by his unbroken record of attendance on Recruit basic training weekends and consolidated courses. 

Always prepared to go the extra mile, he recently qualified as a mountain biking instructor and secured funding to purchase bikes and set up a small club for the Army Reserve trainers. 

Lance Corporal Cranston regularly runs adventurous training sessions for Army Reserve staff, which offers a welcome break for them from the demanding schedule of course delivery at Ballykinlar.

The Citation concludes: “His pastoral care is founded in a genuine want to assist recruits through training and, in particular, those from a more challenged background.

“He has an innate ability to understand their training needs and to provide effective solutions when meeting those challenges within physical development.

“Lance Corporal Cranston’s commitment to individual recruits has contributed directly to an 8% increase in basic training pass rates. Lance Corporal Cranston has given sterling service as a true volunteer, evidencing the values and standards of the Army Reserve — a role model within his community over a 27-year period.”

Meanwhile, Tori is one of just twelve Lord Lieutenants’ Cadets appointed across Northern Ireland.

The Cadets who are selected for the largely ceremonial year-long role can expect a busy year in office as they attend their respective Lord Lieutenants on major civic occasions.

In recognition of their role, they are entitled to wear a special insignia on their uniforms throughout their year in office. 

Toni joined the Army Cadet Force in 2014 at the age of 13 and has attended the Killyleagh detachment since then, becoming the most regular attender in her detachment and rarely missing a detachment evening, company weekend or annual camp.

Her appointment citation commends her as “a model cadet” and says: “Fully committed to the unit and always keen to help others, she has taken on the role of mentor for the younger cadets who have responded well to her guidance and as a result they are settling in very well to the detachment and the ’cadet way of life’.

“She has excelled in this role; she sets an excellent example and is the ideal role model for any cadet.”

Always up for a challenge, Toni has shown an unwavering determination to make the most of any opportunities which the Cadet movement affords her and is currently working towards achieving the Four Star syllabus.

Her hard work and contribution have been recognised with promotion and she deservedly reached the rank of Cadet Sergeant in less than three years, which is a remarkable achievement.

Tori is a student at Shimna Integrated College where she is currently studying for her A Levels in Travel and Tourism, Art and Imaging, with the aspiration to study at university.

She is active within her community and along with the rest of her detachment has worked at the Killyleagh Chocolate Festival, helping to raise over £30,000 for the Cancer Fund for Children.