AN INSPIRATIONAL disabled Coventry student is celebrating passing out as a cadet in the Army Cadet Force (ACF).
Verinder Manota, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has become a cadet in the Grace Academy Platoon after passing completing Physical Training and field craft activities using a wheelchair and a walking frame.
In spite of his disability, the 15-year-old Year 11 student at Grace Academy Coventry does wheelchair drill, takes part in all the parades and insists on doing activities such as press-ups and sit-ups.
After passing his training, Verinder said joining the cadets had been a ‘life-changing’ experience.
He added: “Not many people would expect someone like me to do this.
“My family are really happy and I wouldn’t give up the cadets for all the money in the world.
“The best bit about it has been that my fellow cadets include me in everything they possibly can, and why should I have to miss out on things like this?
“My favourite activity is field craft because I get to crawl around and be part of the fun.
“It’s giving me life experience and showing me how I’ll be able to be independent in the future.”
The new recruit joins 22 other cadets welcomed into the Platoon, part of B Company, Warwickshire and West Midlands (South Sector) ACF, by the High Sheriff Janet Bell Smith and Major Boraston.
Commending the youngster’s acheivement, High Sheriff Janet Bell Smith said: “Verinder’s courage and determination to beat adversity was clear to see.
“He has benefitted hugely from being in the Cadets and I warmly congratulate him for achieving his goal of passing out and the Cadet Force for enabling this to happen.
“It could not have been an easy journey for either party but it is wonderful to see the positive outcome for everyone.”
Explaining that a few activities had to be adapted to enable Verinder to take part, Lt June Reilly, Grace Academy Platoon’s Detachment Commander, said the course had given Verinder more motivation to get out of his wheelchair and work hard to walk unaided.
Grace Academy Coventry recently purchased a new mini-bus with wheelchair access, which will ensure that Verinder is not excluded from any of the Platoon’s activities.