Top flight award for dedicated Carol

A proud moment for Carol Paton as she is presented with her Certficate of Merit award from Lord Shuttleworth.
A proud moment for Carol Paton as she is presented with her Certficate of Merit award from Lord Shuttleworth.

An air cadets volunteer from Burnley, who quadrupled the members of a flagging unit, has been honoured with a top award.

Flight Sergeant Carol Paton was awarded with Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of her exceptional service with Rossendale Air Cadets.

The presentation was made by Lord Shuttleworth, Lord-Lieutenant for Lancashire, during a ceremony held at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.

Carol, who has formerly served with the RAF, joined 352 (Burnley) Squadron Air Cadets in 2009 as a civilian instructor and began uniformed service a year later.

In 2011 Carol qualified as an expedition leader after completing 160 hours of training. She now regularly organises bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions for air Ccdets from across Lancashire and Cumbria.

When Carol was appointed Commanding Officer of 1969 (Rossendale) Squadron the unit was struggling with less than 10 cadets but within 18 months Carol had increased those numbers to over 40.

Carol said: “Since the day I became involved with the air cadets I’ve never looked back.

“I spent five and a half years at Burnley before being given the temporary role of commanding Rossendale Squadron in December 2014 and I’m still there!

“I was totally shocked when I read that I was receiving the award and I’m so proud to receive it on behalf of 1969 (Rossendale) Squadron.”

Colonel Mark Underhill, Chief Executive of the North West Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association said: “The Lord-Lieutenant’s Awards give us an opportunity to recognise the selfless commitment and achievements of the young people and adults who are members of the cadet organisations.

“The cadet movement offers unparalleled opportunities for young people in our region to learn, grow and excel.

“We must ensure that these opportunities continue to be accessible to young people from all backgrounds, and this is only possible with the support of the dedicated adult volunteers like Carol.”

The annual ceremony, which celebrates the achievements of members of the Reserve Forces and Cadet organisations, saw nine adults and young people from across Lancashire honoured for a variety of achievements and good deeds.

The North West of England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association supports and promotes the Volunteer Reserve Forces of the three Armed Services and the cadet organisations in the region.