Sea cadet, 17, is awarded British Empire Medal in Queen’s Birthday Honours
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 October 2020
A 17-year-old sea cadet, studying at Havering College, is one of two young sea cadets ever to receive a British Empire Award.
“Still grinning from ear to ear,” Apple-Jane Hayward from Brentwood was nominated by Brentwood Sea Cadets, and has been busy during lockdown and the following summer months helping out with Brentwood Covid-19 Mutual Aid and Thriftwood International Scout Camp.
Among her many achievements, as a leading cadet, she made weekly phone checks to all of the cadets at her unit as well as the Royal Navy Association and lent support if needed.
After the restrictions were lifted, Apple-Jane went on to cook and deliver hot meals to isolated and vulnerable elderly members of the community, identified through the Brentwood Covid-19 Mutual Aid group, some of which where down to a just a few KitKats and had not had a hot meal in weeks, says mum and commanding officer, Samantha Hayward.
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With the sea cadets all made up of volunteers, many of the adults cadets’ day jobs tend to be on the frontline - in the NHS, police or fire - meaning that not only do they have to cope with heightened anxiety of potentially getting the disease, but the cadet unit had to almost cease to function.
Apple-Jane wrote to the board to propose a plan of how the cadets could continue to operate and sit “boards” or exams to acquire a higher rank virtually. After getting her plan approved meaning hundreds of other sea cadets could continue with their exams, Apple-Jane will now also soon sit a board herself in order to become a petty officer, the highest rank of the sea cadets.
Apple-Jane also having a father on the frontline, a fireman, she wrote an open letter to the sea cadet children of other frontline workers who, like her, may have been worried about their parents and received an abundance of feedback thanking her for her words of solidarity.
With the sea cadets, Apple-Jane has become a yatching power boat instructor, a safety boat instructor, a British canoeing paddling sport instructor and, at the age of 14, she navigated a power boat across the English channel.
At Havering College, she is completing a btec level three sports course. At the college, they have especially allowed her to adapt her course to focus on her passion for extreme sports and she dreams of becoming a pilot in the navy.
“She knows she wants to be out at sea and see the world,” said mum Samantha.
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