GWENT reservists have been praised by the Lord-Lieutenant for ‘stepping up’ when needed during the pandemic.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Gwent, Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE has paid tribute to the work of all of the Armed Forces who are currently supporting civil powers during the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking at his first ever virtual award ceremony, Brigadier Aitken also praised the work of the cadet forces saying they provided an opportunity for teenagers to take risks in a safe and secure environment.

“We have got here in Gwent and throughout the whole of Wales, regular members of the Royal Navy, of the Army and the Royal Air Force serving in testing centres and vaccination centres and doing a huge amount to raise the reputation of the armed forces for quiet efficiency behind the scenes,” he said.

"And of course our reservists have played a part in that as well.

"We have reservists working in ops rooms, driving ambulances, deep cleaning ambulances, as well as helping in vaccination centres and testing centres.

"You are doing a fantastic job by stepping up to the plate when you are most needed.”

Turning to the cadet forces, he thanked the cadet force adult volunteers and civilians who gave up their free time to support the organisation.

Four teenagers - cadet warrant officer Piotr Dabski, cadet flight sergeant Katie Mavroudis-Stephens, cadet sergeant Max Pullen and cadet lance corporal Edward Nock were appointed to the role of Lord Lieutenant cadet for 2021.

They were appointed by Brigadier Atkins at a virtual ceremony attended by 100 people.

The role, which lasts for a year, includes attendance with the Brigadier, who acts as the Queen’s representative, at a number of official engagements such as Remembrance events, Royal visits and parades.

Piotr Dabski

Piotr Dabski

Cadet warrant officer Piotr Dabski (above) of 227 Blackwood squadron, who hopes to join the RAF, has achieved his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award and travelled to Ghana to help build a junior high school.

Katie Mavroudis-Stephens

Katie Mavroudis-Stephens

Cadet flight sergeant Katie Mavroudis-Stephens (above) of 2353 Ystrad Mynach squadron, and who attends Cardiff and Vale College, has been ‘a tower of strength’ to all cadets during the pandemic, ensuring each of them has a support mechanism in place to help with their mental wellbeing.

While cadet sergeant Max Pullen and cadet lance Corporal Edward Nock, of Llanwern CCF and Monmouth CCF respectively, are the first combined cadet force cadets to have been appointed to the role of Lord Lieutenant cadet by the current Lord Lieutenant.


Max Pullen

Max Pullen

Cadet sergeant Pullen (above), of Llanwern High School in Newport, has throughout the whole pandemic continued to support other cadets within the unit via telephone and online conversations.

Edward Nock

Edward Nock

Cadet lance corporal Edward Nock (above) is described as a most capable young man who actively engages with CFF training every week and regularly volunteers to help out where he can.

He is currently studying for A-levels at Monmouth School for Boys and hopes to either read engineering at university and then join the Army post-degree, or simply direct his efforts immediately at Sandhurst or the Royal Marines.

Four people were recognised for their outstanding service and devotion to duty and awarded the Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate of Merit.

These included reservist sapper Gavin Bradbury, of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, who works as a plant operator for Torfaen County Borough Council and Sergeant Major Instructor Charlene Candler of the Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Force.

There are more than 4,400 cadets in Wales who gain skills and qualifications through working with local communities, charities and taking part in a variety of practical activities.

The cadet syllabus is delivered by hundreds of volunteering adult instructors and civilian assistants, who give up their spare time on weeknights and weekends.

The virtual awards event was organised and broadcast by the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales - an organisation that has supported the Armed Forces for more than 100 years.