South Africa expedition beckons for Rossall cadet

Matthew Baldwin who is hoping to join an expetition to South Africa as part of the Duke of Westminster Award

Matthew Baldwin who is hoping to join an expetition to South Africa as part of the Duke of Westminster Award

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A Fleetwood teenager is keeping his fingers crossed for a place on a challenging two-week expedition to South Africa.

Matthew Baldwin, of Falmouth Avenue, is hoping to be one of nine national finalists in the CVQO Duke of Westminster Award – and for the chance to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

If he is successful, 
Matthew, who is 17, could eventually be crowned the overall Duke of Westminster Award winner for 2015 at a prestigious House of Lords ceremony in June.

The 17-year-old, who is a member of the RAF section of Rossall School’s Combined Cadet Force, was nominated by the unit to take part in the award because of his community spirit, his desire to help others and for overcoming personal challenges.

For the chance to be a part of the winning team, Matthew was put through his paces at a four-day selection event in Somerset.

He had to complete physical team building tasks, challenging group debates, strategy tests and gruelling interviews to test his leadership and management skills.

Matthew said: “I was absolutely overjoyed to have made it this far and it made my week when I found out. It was a really big deal for my whole family.

“It would be incredible to see South Africa.

“The country has had a troubled history but is now on the road to recovery.

“I would love to learn more about the culture.”

Guy Horridge, chief executive of CVQO, an organisation which manages vocational qualifications for British cadets, said: “The award is not just about being a great cadet; it is about recognising and rewarding young people who become valuable members of their communities and who show a willingness selflessly to help others.”

If lucky enough to win a place on the South Africa expedition, Matthew will be working with local schools, taking part in an environmental awareness programme and learning about the country’s history.

He will find out in two weeks’ time.