Orpington Sea Cadets volunteer made MBE
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:58 09 June 2018
A woman from Orpington has been madean MBE as part of the Queen's birthday honours.
Susan Catterall, 67, is one of the longest serving volunteers in the Sea Cadets, having spent 40 years dedicating her time to the charity.
She has been recognised for voluntary service to young people,
Attaining the rank of Lieutenant (SCC) in 1987, she commanded Orpington Sea Cadets for 17 years, transforming a small and struggling community cadet group to one of the leading groups in the London region.
Since stepping down from a uniformed role, she has continued to contribute substantially as a very active supporter, Unit Management Committee (UMC) member and trustee.
In addition to her efforts in raising finances, she takes a leading role in practical support for the unit.
This includes organising working groups to maintain the building and grounds, and escorting cadets to public events.
Susan, who lives in Wichling Close, said: “I found out five weeks ago - it’s been so hard keeping it a secret!
“I was on my own when I got the letter - I just dropped it and sat there in shock.”
Susan is held in very high regard by both the uniformed volunteers and her peers on the UMC.
In her wider support for the community, she became involved with the Royal British Legion in 1987, where her fundraising skills were again put to good use.
In 2002 she became involved with the newly formed local Women’s Section (WS) of the Royal British Legion (RBL), where she continues as a senior member promoting increased membership, community exposure and the contribution of the WS to the wider RBL.
She was also a cadet herself in the 1960s.
Her involvement with both Sea Cadets and the Royal British Legion have been mutually beneficial, creating many networking opportunities with other stakeholders in the wider local community on behalf of both organisations.
She said: “I retired four years ago and since then have been giving my time to the community.
“For me, the most important thing and my best memories come from seeing the achievements of the cadets and watching them reach their goals in life.”
She added: “I absolutely never expected this - I enjoy what I have done and there have been good and bad times, but just seeing the cadets achieve their goals is enough for me.
“Just giving something back has been amazing - I was a cadet myself and was helped by people, so I wanted to do the same.”