Longridge cadet member of champion team

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A Longridge cadet was part of the Lancashire Army Cadet Force who pulled off a remarkable victory after a gruelling 100-mile walk across the Netherlands.

Lieutenant Corporal Rachel Smith was part of the 12-strong group of cadets who took first prize and beat the Royal Marines over the four-day marathon in the process. The Lancashire group beat 240 other British teams to take the award.

The trophy is awarded for speed, discipline, appearance and morale. Assessors score each team along the route, and each of the participating teams also casts a vote.

“The whole team including Rachel won plaudits from the judges because they remained positive despite the punishing nature of this endurance event. There were a few blisters along the way but they stayed together and kept each other going,” said Colonel Neil Jurd.

“It’s the first time the Lancashire ACF has taken part in the Nijmegen Marches for more than 20 years and for them to beat all the other British groups is an incredible achievement.”

Lt Cpl Smith’s team — aged between 16 and 18, including three females, had been training since Christmas for the event with leader Second Lieutenant Lennon, who in addition to being a volunteer in the Lancashire ACF is a UK athletics development coach.

Second Lt Lennon made sure the group were thoroughly prepared and helped them cope with the cumulative effects of the walk.

Lt Cpl Smith and the Lancashire team were judged to be the best out of 25 Army Cadet teams across the UK when they attended a selection march event in May.

The event is the largest walking event in the world and attracts more than 45,000 military and civilian participants from more than 50 nations, as well as more than a million spectators, with thousands lining the route.

The route is a demanding one with early morning starts and late finishes and the temperatures hit 28 degrees on some days.

The Lancashire Army Cadet Force is currently looking for more recruits to join up; it is open to young people aged from 12-18 years. For more info call 01772 717078.