A Heanor teenager is named as one of the top army cadets in the country as he was shortlisted for a the highest accolade possible.
Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major Laurence Pilkington, 18, from Heanor, was one of just 16 in the country nominated for the Champion Cadet prize.
Cdt RSM Pilkington, who also plays as a flanker for Derby Rugby Club, said: “It feels absolutely brilliant to be nominated. It’s made my self-confidence go through the roof.
“I used to be a very, very shy cadet. I used to have a very bad stutter and now I’ve got it under control and being in the cadets has certainly helped all that.
“I’ve been honing my skills while taking part in our annual camp and I’m now looking forward to heading to Frimley Green to show the expertise I’ve learned throughout my time with the cadets.
“The cadet force is like a big family. I would definitely recommend it to everybody else. It’s very rewarding and looks great on your CV, especially if you move up the ranks and go through the Army Proficiency Certificate syllabus.”
Deputy Commandant Chris Doyle, said: “Laurence is a model cadet. It’s been fantastic to see this shy boy turn into a fine young man and excellent leader.
“He has put in a lot of hard work and dedication in to becoming a Master Cadet and I was delighted to nominate him for the Champion Cadet award.”
An army cadet volunteer has also been honoured with the Cadet Service Medal for 12 years of service including stints as detachment commander at Ripley.
Captain Chris Bridge, said: “It’s humbling to receive this award for doing something that provides so much enjoyment.”
He was thanked for his service by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Mr William Tucker.