Birthday honour for man who launched youth cadet force challenge

Millie Masterson 2

The founder of one of the UK’s leading youth engagement and leadership programmes said he was ‘deeply privileged’ to be awarded an OBE at the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Simon Dean, founder and Chief Executive of Challenger Troop CIC, is one of five residents in the borough to be honoured.

Mr Dean, of Langton Green, was awarded his OBE in recognition for his services to education. He established Challenger Troop in 2007 in order to improve life chances and outcomes for children and young people.

He said: “I feel deeply privileged to have been awarded an OBE. It is a wonderful honour in recognition of all my amazing team and their passion and hard work in transforming young people’s lives.”

The not-for-profit organisation, based in St John’s Road, is centred on a military ethos and provides full-time professional support for young people – particularly the vulnerable.

To date, 35,000 young people have been through its programme, which works closely with schools throughout the south east and employs mainly ex-service personnel as instructors.

Other residents to be recognised include Martin Greenstreet of Tunbridge Wells, an employee of the Ministry of Defence who received an OBE for services to defence; Lea Ragsdell of Tunbridge Wells, who was awarded an MBE for public service in her capacity as a data manager at the Cabinet Of? ce; Jacqueline Violet Clark, who received a BEM for services to young people in Goudhurst; and Thomas Fisher of Cranbrook, who was given a BEM for services to the community and under-privileged young people in London.

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