Northampton Sea Cadets’ drill team are heading to HMS Raleigh after qualifying for the national championships.
Led by its guard commander, Cadet Petty Officer (CPO) Alex Hearn, aged 17, they were named the best in Eastern Area at the annual regional drill competition in Newark on January 14.
It was Alex’s first ever competition leading the drill team and he was able to guide them to victory and a place in the national final to be held at the Royal Navy’s training facility in Cornwall.
He said: “To say the competition was tough would be an understatement.
“Each team after months of training has only minutes to create a good impression on the judges to remember us by. The margin for error is tiny.
“My heart was racing as the orders came out of my mouth and so quickly the routine was over.
“We then had to wait the rest of the day watching all the other routines until we could find out if, and how well, we had placed.”
It proved to be an excellent day all round for Alex who has been a cadet for more than four years. As part of the presentation, he was surprised to be awarded badges and a promotion certificate promoting him to CPO, the highest rank a sea cadet can reach.
Then came the announcement that Northampton had been crowned Eastern Area drill champions and will go up against the top Sea Cadets in the country at the national finals on April 29.
Alex said: “I am really looking forward to seeing all the other teams compete on the national stage.
“I would like to thank all the teams from Eastern Area for making it one of the closest competitions in years containing the best routines the area has to offer.”