Cadets compete for places on African expedition

Durham Army Cadet Jesse Thompson.

Durham Army Cadet Jesse Thompson.

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CADETS are in the running to join an expedition to South Africa which will see them bid to be the best.

Jesse Thompson, 18, from Hendon, and Rebecca Dewhurst, 17, from High Barnes, are members of Durham Army Cadet Force and will compete against 24 others to win one of nine places on the two-week visit.

Durham Army Cadet Rebecca Dewhurst.

Durham Army Cadet Rebecca Dewhurst.

One will be crowned overall CVQO Duke of Westminster Award winner at a House of Lords ceremony in June.

As they work to gain a place on the expedition, they will head to Somerset for four days of physical and mental tasks, where cadets will also achieve ILM Level 3 qualification in leadership and management.

The candidates have all been nominated by their cadet units in recognition of their desire to help others, overcome personal challenges or demonstrate community spirit.

Jesse said “I was ecstatic to be chosen in the final 24 and I was literally jumping around the house when I found out.

“I think the key now is to be myself and make sure everyone is aware I’m a competent leader.

“Going to South Africa would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and helping local communities over there would mean a huge amount. It would change my life forever.”

Guy Horridge, chief executive of education charity CVQO, said: “This year’s standard has been extremely high and it will be particularly difficult to select those worthy of a place in the final nine, let alone the overall winner.”

Those lucky enough to win a place on the South Africa expedition will be working with schools, taking part in an environmental awareness programme and learning about the country’s history.