Australian Air Force Cadet (AAFC) Flight Sergeant Felicity West, 16, from Canberra has been honoured with the prestigious Eleanore Tibble Memorial Pilgrimage for 2015.
Felicity has been chosen to represent the AAFC from over 7,000 cadets around Australia.
“I am absolutely honoured and touched to be representing such an amazing organisation in one of Australia’s most important milestones. I still can’t believe that I will be standing there, where our brave heroes sacrificed all for our country,” said Felicity.
“Even after being awarded this scholarship, I am still learning so much that I didn’t already know about Gallipoli, and even in whole World War One. I have the deepest respect for the Australians, New Zealanders, Allied troops and the Turkish troops that sacrificed all at Gallipoli.”
Felicity will be wearing her Great Grandfather’s medals over in Gallipoli, who had inspired her from a very young age.
Felicity has achieved many exciting personal milestones since joining the AAFC in 2012. She has been awarded numerous awards including a Chief of Air Force Flying Scholarship, the Gordon Mercovich Leadership Award, the Long Tan Leadership Award and a recent promotion to Cadet Flight Sergeant.
However, none of these achievements compare to the adventure she is about to undertake.
“I have always had a passion in making sure the younger community has known about our ANZACs, and I am still numb to realise that I will have the opportunity to show my respect for my personal heroes at such an important time,” she said.
“So many died so young and so tragically, and it has become a personal goal of mine to ensure that the youths of today are educated about their sacrifices so they are never forgotten.”
Each year, the Eleanore Tibble Memorial Pilgrimage Scholarship sponsors an AAFC Cadet to travel with the Australian Defence Force Contingent to Gallipoli to participate in ANZAC Day commemoration services, including the Dawn Service. The scholarship was created in memory of Cadet Sergeant Eleanore Tibble, who died in Tasmania in 2000.
“I not only want to represent the AAFC on my trip, but also Eleanore Tibble. She was so young, and I believe it is fit to honour her as well in my travels. I will be laying a handmade poppy on behalf of Eleanore, just to let her know that whilst I did not meet her, I will be thinking of her.”