A cadet from Wellingborough beat off competition from 20,000 others across the county to be named the best cadet in the country.
Cadet Warrant Officer Ben Gilbert, 20, received the prestigious Dacre Sword for the best male cadet in the Air Training Corps at a recent ceremony.
He joined the 378 Mannock Squadron, based in Wellingborough, when he was 13-years-old.
Since then he has gained places on several prominent training courses, including parachuting, para-gliding and the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme.
He has also represented the cadets abroad while taking part in the International Air Cadet Exchange in California. And he has escorted members of the Royal Family when they are on official visits to the county as part of his role as the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for Northamptonshire.
Ben, who works as a sales executive, recently joined the Rushden Air Cadets as an officer.
He said: “I am very pleased and proud to receive this award. I have enjoyed my time with the cadets and I am grateful for all the opportunities it has given me.”
A spokesman for the cadets said: “He is an enthusiastic, articulate and intelligent young man who shows extraordinary dedication to his squadron.
“His leadership skills have developed over the past few years and have culminated in him being promoted to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer in 2010.
“As a role model for younger cadets, it would be difficult to find anyone more capable.
“Ben will no doubt go on to achieve more success in his civilian life.”