An Army Cadet Force Lieutenant from Ballymoney who has led his unit during the pandemic delivering food parcels to the vulnerable has today received Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.
These awards are accorded to new people each day, and in the government’s words they are intended to “recognise outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others”.
Lieutenant Stephen Lyons joined the Army Cadet Force 11 years ago, after a long career in the reserve Army.
During the pandemic, the government said “he has been an inspiration for his community, delivering regular food parcels, and distributing gifts to isolated older people at Christmas”.
Its statement added: “Lt Lyons also set up virtual bike rides, walks, and exercise classes during lockdown to keep hundreds of cadets across Northern Ireland mentally and physically well.
“Inspired by their commanding officer, many of the cadets of his detachment have won awards for their public service in the community.”
Armed forces minister James Heappey MP said: “Stephen has given many years of his time to providing cadets in his detachment at Cullybackey College and, more widely, within the 1st (Northern Ireland) Battalion, Army Cadet Force with invaluable opportunities that help develop their confidence, self-reliance, teamwork and communication skills.
“His drive and enthusiasm to keep cadet activities going during the pandemic, as well as his efforts, and those of his cadets, to help their community during the difficult times, are particularly impressive and commendable.
“Lt Lyons epitomises the 27,000 cadet force adult volunteers who are key in delivering the ‘cadet experience’ to 120,000 cadets across the country.”
In a statement reacting to the news, Lt Lyons said: “I feel extremely humbled to be recognised for my efforts by the Prime Minister’s Office, especially at this time when so many people are volunteering to help others in such difficult times.
“I believe this represents all the hard work done by all those adults for young people in the Army Cadet Force and other youth organisations.”
Lt Lyons is the 1,686th person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014.
If people know someone who could be a Point of Light they should write to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.
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