The National Cadet of the Year competition is a two-day contest designed to test the Cadets’ abilities in a range of subjects including communication, team work, presentation, working with the media and social skills.

With thousands of Cadets across the country, participants in the competition had already shown a high degree of excellence. But this year, 16-year-old Harriet Walton from Halifax has been named our National Cadet of the Year and will represent St John Ambulance Cadets at a number of high profile events across the country over the coming year.

What does being National Cadet of the Year mean to you?

I feel honoured! I have had a brilliant weekend and even being there with the top 30 cadets in the country was an honour. This means I can represent the views and opinions of other members in my district and take those to the next level to help improve the organisation. I’m also happy that I get to represent St John Ambulance to external people and organisations as I can share how it has helped me and so many others in a variety of different ways.

‘I am so thrilled to be awarded the National Cadet of the Year 2017 and delighted to be bringing it back to the North!'

When have you used your first aid skills in real life and what happened?

Mostly when I’ve been on duty treating minor cuts and bruises, but there has been a time when I’ve had to use my skills a little more seriously. When I was in Scotland, I came across an unresponsive man who had fallen down a flight of concrete stairs. I went over to the few people standing round him, told them my role and took over the situation quite quickly. He was breathing and was heavily intoxicated. I waited with him until the ambulance arrived, keeping him warm, safe and taking observations regularly. Even though I will never know what happened to him, I feel very proud that I knew what to do and had the confidence to take control of a situation where someone was hurt.

What's the best thing about being part of St John Ambulance?

The best part is how many different opportunities and experiences you get from one organisation. Even though first aid is a big part, I love how the Grand Prior Award has so many different and varied subjects. I also love how volunteering for St John Ambulance, I get to go to different events including operational duties, PR events, formal events, competitions and courses (for example leadership and peer educator courses).

Why would you recommend it to others?

It gives you so many experiences that I think improve you as a person. For example, it gives you confidence and transferable skills that will help you with your future career.

Find out about joining the cadets