Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School – Cadets Put on Outstanding Inspection

25 Aug 2017

We were delighted to welcome Old Boy, Brigadier Matthew Lowe MBE to return to School as the Inspecting and Review Officer of the Combined Cadet Force for Inspection Day this year. After leaving in 1981 and following a career in the Army he has successfully achieved a Rank of Brigadier in the Parachute Regiment and has held outstanding appointments all over the world.

Brigadier Matthew Lowe was commissioned into The Parachute Regiment in 1984. He has served in all continents less Antarctica and has been deployed on operations to Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has been: an exchange officer in Australia; an instructor at Sandhurst and the Joint Services Staff College; the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment; and the Deputy Commander of London District during the Olympics. He is currently responsible for controlling the Army Cadet Force and the Combined Cadet Force. In his spare time he is a trustee of the Parachute Regiment Charity, a rugby referee, and an enthusiastic user of good quality chainsaws.

The Brigadier was welcomed back to the School by Mr Cook, Mrs Robinson and Contingent Commander Colonel Mike Slemen, then introduced to a large gathering of N W Military who were supporting the special event.

There was a Lunch for all the guests and on completion the programme commenced with the Brigadier inspecting a Guard of Honour. Three Senior Tri Service Cadets then escorted the Brigadier round the various stands before the 260 cadets formed up and marched on for the Final Parade. A large gathering of guests and parents also enjoyed touring the activities.

Following the Final Parade the Brigadier presented awards to cadets including prestigious Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards and a Memorial Trophy was presented to the Outstanding Cadet Recruit, Tom Dixon.

The Brigadier finally expressed a “Thank You” for being invited back and he praised all involved including Officers and proud parents and then wished the Cadets every success in the future. Brigadier MP Lowe then received ‘Three Cheers’ to complete the successful Inspection.

In the evening the Brigadier was the Guest at the Dining Out Night, as many of the Senior Cadets now go on to Universities. At the Dinner it was announced that the Best Cadet of the Year was Regimental Sergeant Major Jacob Foster and he was presented with a Trophy. He was then given the task of presenting an engraved Tankard to the Brigadier to remind him of his day back at his Old School.

Brigadier MP Lowe added:

“I was delighted to return to Merchant Taylors’ as the CCF Inspecting Officer on 5 May 2017. Lt Col Mike Slemen, my erstwhile rugby coach, had organised a brilliant day: lunch with both Heads, Contingent Officers and supporting staffs; a Guard of Honour; a range of activity stands; a section attack demonstration; a parade with awards; and a dining out for the senior cadets in the library-all executed with great panache and style, and widely supported by families.

Cadet Forces are my job and I’m delighted to report that Merchant Taylors’ is one of the very best. Having Altcar Camp for shooting, RAF Woodvale for flying, and sailing water nearby helps enormously, but it’s the quality of the leadership opportunities that the schools’ CCF officers devise that really makes the difference. I was very impressed by the style and confident manner of many of the cadets I met, with the three Section heads and the NCO instructing on medical techniques being especially inspirational young people.

CCFs aren’t just about recruiting for Defence. They are about preparing young people to assume leadership positions in all aspects of national, and increasingly international, life. Academic achievement is highly desirable but it isn’t everything. Universities and employers want young people who can recognise a context, understand the goal, assess the resources available, make a plan, allocate tasks and inspire others.

I finish with a very personal thank you to Mike Slemen, his Contingent Officers and the three Section senior cadets for a wonderful day. I had a happy foray down memory lane, but much more importantly saw the next generation of our national leaders, and the future is bright!”