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CCF commander honoured with Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant’s Meritorious Award

Vice Principal Neil Pouney has received Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant’s Meritorious Award for his achievements with UTC Reading’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF).

The prestigious event, which took place at Easthampstead Park in Bracknell on Thursday, October 14, saw the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, James Puxley, present Neil with his award in honour of his inspirational leadership of UTC Reading’s CCF.

The CCF is an organisation supported by the Ministry of Defence in which cadets join Navy, Royal Marine, Army and Royal Air Force sections to practise teamwork, leadership, adventure training, flying, gliding, shooting and much more.

The Lord Lieutenants’ awards are presented every year in every county to celebrate the professional and personal achievements of those who work or volunteer within the cadet movement and the Reserve forces.

Last year, one of UTC Reading’s students Elise Hammond was awarded the Lord Lieutenant’s award for her hard work and dedication to the cadets. The award is given to only one CCF cadet in Berkshire per year and meant she was invited to attend and assist at high-level civil engagements Royal visits in Berkshire over the year.

Neil, who has spent 23 years in the Royal Air Force as an aircraft engineer, has led UTC Reading’s CCF section since 2018 and has recently been instrumental in signing an agreement to run a joint CCF with neighbouring school, Maiden Erlegh Reading.

UTC Reading's Principal Jonathan Nicholls nominated Neil for the award, saying: “Flight Lieutenant Neil Pouney joined UTC Reading as Vice Principal in January 2018 and immediately set out on a plan to establish a CCF section at the UTC, something he had previously achieved at The Vyne School in Basingstoke.

“The CCF programme complemented the UTC Vision of Transforming Lives Through Learning and he has led the programme from inception to the present day, now parading 10 per cent of the UTC student population in the RAF contingent.

“In addition to this, more recently Neil has been able to establish an Army contingent (opening February 2021) and the UTC programme is now supporting neighbouring secondary school, Maiden Erlegh Reading, to help them establish their own programme to enhance the community impact of this project.

“Through his inspirational leadership he has supported great personal development for our cadets with Cadet Flight Sergeant Elise Hammond being appointed Lord-Lieutenant Cadet for 20/21.

“In a short space of time, he has led flying days, cadet camps on the IOW, RAF Benson, Cyprus and personally delivered CVQO ILM courses completed during lockdown. Despite the short space of time, the impact he has had has been significant and far-reaching for our UTC staff and students.”

“We are incredibly proud of our CCF programme at UTC Reading and of what Neil and all of the CCF staff have grown to.”

Neil said: “I was incredibly humbled to receive this award from HM Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.  I have been around the cadet organisation for many years; however, it has never really felt like a chore.  To see the opportunities that cadets give young adults and the staff that help has always been the reward I have thrived on since I was a cadet myself many years ago. 

“For Jon to have put me forward for this award meant a lot to me as it showed that the effort we all put in to setting up the UTC Reading contingent has been recognised by not only by the school, but at county level too. 

“I would like to thank the staff at the school for their efforts in making it a joy to lead this contingent and I look forward to progressing the contingent even further over the coming years.”





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