Three instructors from 1st Battalion the Highlanders have been recognised for their long service to the Army Cadet Force.
Lieutenant Richard Thorpe (31) was presented with the Cadet Force Medal, Captain Neil McLean (65) was presented with his 1st clasp for the medal and Major Norman MacLeod (56) was presented with his 5th clasp for the medal.
Lt Thorpe, who received the medal for 12 years’ service to the Cadets, joined the battalion in 2004 as an instructor with Fort Augustus Detachment – where he was appointed the Detachment’s Commander in 2007. He was transferred to Aviemore Detachment in 2008 as its detachment commander, which he still runs today. Richard is also the battalion’s shooting officer and is involved in coaching the teams for the various competitions they attend, most recently the Inter-Service Cadet Rifle Meeting at Bisley Ranges in Surrey which saw one of the battalion’s shooters finish in the Cadet 100 Competition making them one of the top 100 shots in the UK Cadet forces.
Lt Thorpe was quite modest in having his service recognised by saying: “It’s nice to be recognised for all the hard work we as adult volunteers put in but, at the end of the day, we are all here for the kids and it’s reward enough seeing them achieve.”
Capt McLean was awarded the 1st clasp for 18 years of service and, after already having a long career with the Armed Forces, joined the battalion in 1998 with Thurso Detachment, where a year later he was appointed the Detachment Commander. After being promoted to Major in 2006 Neil was then given the role of Company Commander of Caithness Company, which he was until 2014 where he decided to take a step back to a detachment level and was appointed the Detachment Commander of Wick in 2014.
Major MacLeod received his 5th clasp for 38 years’ sevice to the Cadets. After already having been a Cadet with the battalion, Major MacLeod re-joined as an Adult Instructor in 1978 with Back Detachment. Norman was an instructor at Back for 13 years where he was then appointed the Western Isles Company Commander in 1991, which he has been for the last 25 years! Major MacLeod also has battalion responsibilities too by being the Battalion First Aid Officer training both Cadets and adults in First Aid Qualifications from the Heartstart course for Basic and One Star Cadets to the First Aid at Work Course for adult instructors.
The Cadet Forces Medal is awarded to all officers and uniformed Adult Instructors in recognition of long service of proved capacity in the Cadet Forces. The medal is awarded after 12 years’ unbroken service to the Cadet Forces, with an additional clasp for every 6 years of further service.