Remembrance Day inspired young Mirfield army cadet to sign up

Sgt Debra Shillito of Mirfield ACF
Sgt Debra Shillito of Mirfield ACF

A POIGNANT remembrance service prompted Debra Shillito to join Mirfield’s army cadets.

And now, as she becomes the town’s youngest-ever detachment commander, she is urging more young people to get involved.

A top priority for her is to boost the number of members at D Company ACF.

“Young people joining us will get to do things they would never usually do,” said Debra, 20. “Being a cadet will really broaden their horizons.”

In taking charge at D Company, Debra continues a proud family tradition of service to the organisation. Her parents Paul and Jill have both been instructors for many years.

Mirfield born and bred, she worked her way through the ranks to become colour sergeant at 18.

“It was a Remembrance Say service which started it all off,” said Debra. “I went with a friend and seeing how much pride the ACF had made us want to get involved. The following Monday we joined up.”

As a cadet, Debra competed and excelled in company and county competitions in first aid and sport. She also represented Yorkshire and took first place in a Royal British Legion’s standard-bearers’ challenge.

She is determined to boost Mirfield’s cadet numbers after numbers have dropped in recent years and has several ideas on how to attract new recruits.

“We need a lot more young people to come forward,” she said. “Cadets have been involved in an expedition to the Himalayas and a trek to Everest.”

A spokesman for the Mirfield ACF said: “As a young commander, Debra is in the know when it comes to what drives kids and how to deliver the army cadet message to them.”