A YOUTH member of Skipton Royal British Legion has won his place at the grand final of a national standard-bearer competition.

Having won the Yorkshire North East County heat in October last year, and now the regional competition, where he was up against competitors from South West Yorkshire and Northumbria, Air Cadet Sam Henderson is off to the final leg of the contest, due to be held in Stockport, Greater Manchester, on April 21.

Members of Sam's family and branch members travelled to Northumbria to the Z Company 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers headquarters at Cramlington for the regional competition to give Sam their support and to see him triumph.

Each was inspected by the judges before they carried out the strict routines expected of standard bearers.

George Martin, Skipton RBL Chairman, said: "At the end of Sam's performance, a resounding applause was almost deafening as he marched back to the competitors waiting room."

Afterwards, Sam, a student at Ermysted's Grammar School, and a member of 264 Skipton Air Training Corp, said: "It was nerve wracking knowing I was up against the best in the region so I was really pleased to have won. I received some great feedback which will help me prepare for the national competition. I will work hard to make sure my drill is the best it can be."

Sam's mum, Ailis said: " Sam has worked hard over the last few months and continues to push himself to improve. The standard of all the competitors was very high and Sam certainly had his work cut out.

"He held his nerve well whilst under the scrutiny of the judges and was delighted to have won. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and we are so incredibly proud of his achievement. He is now fully invested in preparing for the national competition. The support Sam has received from all the members of the RBL is heart-warming, and we would like to thank each and every one of them for their kind messages. Special thanks again to George Martin, for his unwavering support and for giving Sam this amazing opportunity."

Simeon Grundy, North and East Yorkshire Parade Marshal, said: "I am immensely proud of Sam and his dedication to The Royal British Legion specifically Skipton branch and the role of Branch Standard Bearer and as County Youth Standard Bearer.

"As membership numbers of the RBL dwindle, it is imperative that the organisation embraces the youth element and provides an active engaging programme to encourage youth involvement and retention of membership as they transition to adults. Having Sam as a role model will serve our county well and hopefully encourage others that the RBL has much to offer the younger members.

"I was immensely proud to be able to travel and watch Sam compete in the regional competition and even prouder to watch him win the competition and know he will now compete at National Youth Standard Bearer Competition in April. The North and East Yorkshire County are blessed to have such a dedicated and talented individual representing us and the north east region, and we wish him every success at the national competition in Stockport."

Anyone wishing to join the Skipton Royal British Legion can do so by contacting the branch membership officer Anna Green by email skiptonmemsecretary@rbl.community. Branch meetings are held at the Three Links Club on the first Friday of the month at 7.30pm.