Senior Under Officer Matthew Barnes, 25, a former Head Boy at Christ College, received the Sword of Honour, whilst Jack Goring, from Peterchurch near Hereford, also passed out at the same parade.
Mat was presented with the Sword of Honour by Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE, representing Her Majesty The Queen, who was the Reviewing Officer at the 173rd Sovereign’s Parade at the Surrey academy. Mat gained full Sandhurst colours for athletics and despite injury managed to get back to full fitness and has been commissioned into The Parachute Regiment.
Mat joined Christ College in September 2004 from Hereford Cathedral School to study his GCSEs, and was a boarder in School House. During his time at the school, he threw himself into a range of activities, including performing in the school’s Jazz band, Chamber Choir and Chapel Choir. He was an accomplished canoeist at school, and also played for the school’s 1st XV and 1st VII at rugby. He studied Music, Physical Education and Photography at A level.
After Christ College, he took a gap year during which he completed a 6 month Fast Track Watersports Instructor course at Plas Menai in North Wales and then worked as a Watersports instructor in Greece. He then went to Bangor University, gaining a degree in Sports Science. At university, Mat was an active member of the Wales Universities Officer Training Corps and later transferred as a TA Officer to 3 Royal Welsh Regiment. Prior to joining Sandhurst, he sailed the Atlantic with two of his friends.
As a precursor to his chosen career, Mat was a key member of the Christ College Combined Cadet Force, and was twice in the CCF team that won the annual Cambrian Patrol competition. In 2006/7 he was the Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major (lead cadet) of the Christ College CCF, developing his skills under the guidance of the school’s former CCF Staff Sergeant Instructor, WO2 Bill Dowling MBE.
Mat commented: “My military career started in the Christ College CCF under the guidance of WO2 Bill Dowling MBE. From there I joined the Wales Universities Officer Training Corps and then transferred to 3 Royal Welsh as a TA Officer. Sandhurst has been a tough and extremely rewarding challenge. This last year has been about giving me the tools I need to be a leader and the next challenge is to put all the Sandhurst training into practice.”
Jack Goring, a Christ College pupil from 2000 to 2007, was Head of Orchard House in 2006/7 and also represented the school’s 1st XV as well as the 1st XI (cricket). He was also an active member of the CCF here at Christ College and achieved the rank of Warrant Officer 2 (WO2). He was in the same successful Cambrian Patrol teams with Mat Barnes. Jack left Christ College with a set of outstanding academic results and went on to study Physics at Imperial College, London.
Philip Jones, at the time Mat and Jack’s Headmaster at Christ College, said: “Mat was Christ College through and through. He was involved in everything that the school had to offer. He was a talented sportsman, an excellent musician and finished his time at Christ College with an excellent set of A level results.”
Commenting on Jack, Philip Jones added: “Jack was an excellent Head of House and a real all-rounder – academically very strong and an extremely competent sportsman.”
The Sword of Honour is awarded to the British Army Officer Cadet considered by the Commandant to be, overall, the best of the course. The Sovereign’s Parade at the end of each term marks the passing out from Sandhurst of Officer Cadets who have completed the Commissioning Course and is the result of many hours of hard work. It is considered the grandest day in the Sandhurst calendar as friends, family and VIPs gather at the Royal Military Academy’s Old College Square to watch the cadets take part in their final challenge.
The parade traditionally ends with the Adjutant riding his horse up the steps of Old College as he follows the graduating Officer Cadets through the Grand Entrance. After a formal lunch with friends, family and Regimental Officers, the day concludes in spectacular and celebratory fashion at the exclusive Commissioning Ball, where, at the stroke of midnight, the newly commissioned Second Lieutenants proudly display their rank insignia for the first time.
Head of Christ College, Emma Taylor, commented: “We are all incredibly proud of the achievements of these fine young men. We look forward to welcoming them back to Brecon in the not-too-distant future when they will share their experiences with our current pupils. I have no doubt that they will both be inspirational role models for young Breconians for many years to come!”
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