On the 31st October 2012, I was invested as the new Lord Lieutenant Cadet of Leicestershire at County Hall in Leicester. I was to hold this position for one year.
I was quickly thrown into action on the Saturday following the investiture where I attended the Festival of Remembrance at DeMonfort Hall in Leicester. Along with the other two cadets from the SCC and the ACF, I was to play a key role in the service by acting as a wreath bearer on behalf of the Royal Air Force. It was a very daunting experience as I was required to stand and slow march along the stage on my own to a memorial in the centre of the stage and lay the wreath in front of the hundreds of people in the audience. Whilst I felt a lot of pressure to get it right, I can honestly say that it was one of the proudest moments of my life that I shall remember for a long time to come.
Following the Festival of Remembrance, there were 4 occasions at County Hall for various Civil Ceremony’s, including the unveiling of a £75,000 memorial and an Armed Forces Day ceremony. At each of these ceremony’s, I was part of the procession that lead all of the dignitaries. I also gave a reading in Leicester Cathedral on behalf of Lady Gretton at the Armed Forces Day service and then along with the Sea Cadet representative, I lead the cadet contingent, calling the Eyes Right during the Leicester Armed Forces Day parade. Both of these, again, were very daunting experiences but ones that I will remember.
Picture shows FS Henson carrying the Union Flag at a Flag Raising Ceremony for Armed Forces Day at County Hall, Leicester, July 2013
As my time as Lord Lieutenant Cadet started to close, I received an email from the Lieutenancy Office, labelled Royal Visit!!! Royal Visits are rare in Leicester and after the previous Lord Lieutenant Cadets from the year before me got to dine with The Queen and The Duchess Of Cambridge during her Jubilee visit, I was not expecting any royalty to visit the city during my term of office. However, in July, His Royal Highness, The Earl Of Wessex, Prince Edward came to Leicester to officially open the new campus at DeMonfort University. During his visit, I was required to open and close his car door on two occasions and follow him around the new campus area with Lady Gretton. Prince Edward took time out to speak to me about my time in cadets and what I plan to do with my future. It was a fantastic and a once in a life time experience to get that close to a member of the royal family that again, I will not forget for a long time to come.
My time as Lord Lieutenant Cadet has been an absolutely incredible and humbling experience that I will always be very proud of. During my year, I met some amazing people including the Armed Forces Minister, His Royal Highness, The Earl Of Wessex, The High Sheriff of Leicestershire, The Chairman of the County Council, WWII veterans and many other civil dignitaries and men and women that other 17 year olds probably don’t even know exist! The highlight of the year was most definitely the Festival of Remembrance. Being the Lord Lieutenant Cadet has definitely been the highlight of my cadet career so far and I would encourage winning the award to be something every cadet aspires for. Congratulations to Flight Sergeant Setchell of 1181 (Syston) Squadron for receiving the award for the coming year and I wish him every success.
Flt Sgt M Henson
1F (City of Leicester) Squadron