The Ulysses Trust annual award ceremony took place on the 22nd October in the prestigious Long Room of the Honourable Artillery Company to celebrate the adventurous training achievements of Reserve and Cadet Forces over the year.
An auspicious event in anyone’s social calendar, the Ulysses Trust awards is always well attended, and this year was no exception with senior representatives from all three services, and a number of esteemed individuals in attendance. Our guest of honour was Lady MacPherson, although unfortunately her husband Sir Tommy MacPherson – Britain’s most decorated World War 2 Veteran – was unable to accompany Lady MacPherson due to ill health. The Trust wishes him well for a speedy recovery.
The event, ably compered by Colonel Rex Stephenson CBE, began with a welcome speech by Air Vice-Marshal Nick Kurth CBE, Chairman of the Ulysses Trust before moving on to two presentations from Major David Larkam and Lieutenant Sam Potts from East Midlands Universities Officer Training Corps, and Lieutenant James Dyer and Cadet Warrant Officer Sam Huckle from 2427 (Biggin Hill) Squadron Air Training Corps. Both presentations were accompanied by some excellent images of the expeditions, and both were illustrated with enthusiasm by the young speakers, illustrative of the 2000+ beneficiaries that the Ulysses Trust supports each year.
The main event was the awards ceremony itself, and Lt Gen Sir Mark Mans KCB CBE DL, Vice Patron of the Ulysses Trust, was our VIP guest who presented certificates for Best Expedition to three units.
Best Volunteer Reserve Expedition
Unit: 4 Para
Expedition: Ex Black Viking
Location: Lofoten Islands
Award Citation: This was a summer climbing and trekking expedition to islands within the Arctic Circle involving 10 members of the Battalion. Entirely unit-executed, this was a complex project to plan and mount, led by the Padre, and in the face of challenging logistics an ambitious programme was well executed. In the remote environment the participants learnt much – particularly about themselves, resulting in an excellent expedition of great merit to the Battalion and the Army Reserve Forces. Read the Ex Black Viking Report.
Best UOTC Expedition
Unit: East Midlands UOTC
Expedition: Ex Dragon Alpaca EMU
Location: Peruvian Andes
Award citation: This expedition was a major and demanding High Altitude 4-week mountaineering expedition to the Cordillera Blanca, involving 9 Officer Cadets, 3 Reservists and 1 Regular. Every member of the team succeeded in summitting at least 2 of the three major mountains climbed, which included two over 6000m, Copa and Huasceran – the highest mountain in Peru at 6768m. They also helped in the rescue of, and possibly saved the life of an Ecuadorian mountain guide. We are particularly pleased with the commitment of UOTCs towards such major endeavours. Read the Ex Dragon Alpaca EMU Report.
Best Cadet Expedition
Unit: Gwent and Powys ACF
Expedition: Ex Snowdonia Start
Award citation: A modest but carefully planned and well-executed project over two week-ends to train Adult instructors and then provide them the experience of leading cadets in basic mountaineering and climbing activities – a first venture into this for the Unit. It involved 4 Cadet Instructors, 2 Reservists and 8 Cadets. The outcomes are best summarised by the Expedition leader: “To Summarise the Exercise we took five adults and Six Cadets to Snowdonia and now have a very good chance of training up two Rock Leaders, and soon after they can progress to Rock Climbing Instructors. Two very good aspirant Mountain Leaders who can gain more experience before attending a mountain leader Course. One Mountain Leader who can attend an Advanced Summer Leader Course and after a bit more climbing can attend a Rock Leader and Single Pitch award Assessment. We also managed to introduce 4 Cadets to Scrambling and 4 Cadets to multi-pitch Climbing, two of which we have identified as being possible Adventure Training instructors of the future. It’s now about keeping the momentum going.” Moreover, the detailed Report was supported by some really excellent imagery. This expedition inspired for its vision, and cost-effective pragmatic approach to achieving some promising outcomes. Read the Ex Snowdonia Start Report.
The final presentation of the evening fell to Lt Gen Sir Mark Mans KCB CBE DL who extolled the virtues of adventurous training for developing young people. On behalf of the Ulysses Trust, he went on to thank all the Trust donors and supporters for their ongoing engagement, and encouraged everyone to continue to support the Ulysses Trust in achieving its ambitious plans of trebling the scale of our support for Reserve and Cadet Force adventurous training in the lead up to our 25th anniversary in 2017.
Our congratulations go to all winners, but a very well done to all others who participated in adventurous training throughout the year. BZ to all!
Photographs of the event can be found on our Facebook page.