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Cadet delivers goods in army survival training; Teen's award joy at Canadian wilderness camp.

Byline: By ROB PATTINSON

A CHRONICLE delivery boy has been crowned top cadet at a wilderness training camp in Canada.

Alan Pearson, 14, from Carl-ton Close, Chester-le-Street, was the only cadet from the region selected for the Argonaut British Exchange 2007 to Canada.

And despite being one of the youngest among the 1,600 cadets, the Roseberry Sports and Community College pupil finished top of the six-week leadership course.

He excelled in taking platoon drills, leading navigation exercises and helping his fellow troopers when they ran into difficulty canoeing.

To his surprise he was crowned top of the pack by Lt Col Carr at the closing ceremony of the course.

Alan said: "When they told me I couldn't believe it. I thought it was going to be someone else because I was one of the youngest there.

"It was one of the greatest moments of my life when I was presented with the award. I had to march out in front of 1,600 cadets to get it.

"There was another guy from Britain who was really good and I thought he'd get it, but I'm glad it was me."

During his time in the North American wilderness, Alan practised team skills including abseiling and rock climbing.

The most gruelling challenge he faced was a three-day solo survival expedition in the forest, where he built his own shelter and lived off ration packs. Alan said: "Things like the survival expedition were challenging, but actually just being four thousand miles away from home, thrown in at the deep end was the hardest part.

"I learnt a lot about myself, a lot about self-discipline and I learnt things about other people that will definitely help me later in life.

"Going into the Army is my top career choice but only after I take my A-levels."

Now Alan's mum Jackie, 43, is happy her son is safely back in the North East ready to resume his daily paper round.

She said: "I think it's fantastic what he's done.

"It was the opportunity of a lifetime and he's taken it.

"He's been away for weeks at a time with the cadets before, but never for this long.

"I was a little but apprehensive about him going all that way for so long.

"He was a sensible young boy when he went, but now I've got a mature young man. It's great."

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GREAT OUTDOORS: The Canadian wilderness; PROUD: Cadet Alan Pearson receiving his award from Maj KM Fells of the Argonaut ACSTC in New Brunswick, Canada
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2007
Words:423
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