Diana Award for Cullybackey cadet

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

A Cullybackey army cadet has been recognised with the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts – The Diana Award.

Anna-Grace Donnelly was presented the award at a virtual ceremony along with other children and young people.

  The ceremony also marks what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th Birthday.   

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the award is presented by the charity The Diana Award, and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.

Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award, said: “We congratulate all our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and all over the globe who are change makers for their generation. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens. 

“For over twenty years The Diana Award has valued and invested in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others.”

Since joining the Army Cadet Force, the Cullybackey College student (15) has displayed outstanding dedication and community spirit, well above what could reasonably be expected of someone of her young age.

She has played a vital role in the organisation and distribution of food and essential supplies to the elderly and at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through her extensive volunteering, Anna-Grace has not only been of great help to people in her local area, but she has encouraged other cadets to get involved with charitable activities. These efforts have helped foster a stronger community spirit between groups of young people across the local area.

She has been involved in events such as The John Muir Environmental Award, working with the Cullybackey Community Partnership (CCP) helping to maintain the flower displays, including the Detachment Flower box, assisting with numerous village litter picks along with cadets from the Air and Sea Cadets from Ballymena, and home schooling her younger sibling during the pandemic. 

In addition, to all this she has also been highly active in participating in such virtual events as our ‘Salute to Captain Tom’, VE Day Tea Party, the 1st (NI) Battalion ACF 1- Mile Virtual Race, and the Battalion ‘Video’ Sports Tribute to NHS staff.  She also organised the cadets in the Detachment to place poppy crosses on the war graves of those killed in the two World Wars, in conjunction with the project put forward by the Battalion’s RSMI.

 Anna Grace Donnelly said: “I am truly honoured to be recognised for my volunteering during COVID”.

Cadet Anna-Grace Donnelly has also been working on her Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards through the Army Cadet Force and has just started her Gold Award, she is also completing the next level of her John Muir Environmental Award which is also offered through the ACF.

Award recipients have been put forward by adults who know the young people in a professional capacity and recognised their efforts as a positive contribution to society. Through a rigorous nomination process, these nominators had to demonstrate the nominee’s impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey.

 There are 12 Diana Award Judging Panels representing each UK region or nation and a further three panels representing countries outside of the UK. Each panel consist of three judges; one young person, an education or youth work professional, and a business or government representative. The panels have an important main purpose: to determine which nominations from each UK region/nation/country will receive The Diana Award.

 Nominations are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide which have been created to measure quality of youth social action.

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