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Commodore Jock Alexander & Lt Cdr RNR Debbie Simms
LR - Lt Cdr Kilian Hall, Cdre Jock Alexander, Lt Cdr RNR Debbie Sims & Lt Cdr Phil Richardson

Royal Naval Reservist recognised for selfless commitment

Published: 14 Feb 2013

Royal Naval Reservist (RNR) Lieutenant Commander Debbie Sims (42) voluntary commitment to the families at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton had been recognised by the Stations Commanding Officer, Commodore Jock Alexander with his Award for Excellence.

The CAFE AWARD (Commodores Award for Excellence) is awarded on a regular basis to an individual who has proven themselves to be worthy of particular recognition through enterprise and success. Debbie retired from the Royal Navy in 2008 and became a RNR within the Fighter Control specialisation. Using skills, experience and knowledge gained in the Navy she has ceaselessly promoted an inclusive family friendly support network.

Since retiring from full time service in 2008, Debbie has started, coordinated and coached two successful netball teams for wives and serving females that participated in the local leagues. The two Teams have now become one as they are about to enter league one, the top grouping in the Yeovil Summer Netball League. Debbie herself plays in the Centre position.

Debbie said “I enjoy seeing the team’s confidence grow and we have come all the way up through the leagues since I started, all the way to the top! It’s a great opportunity to develop in the sporting environment and encourage and develop each other whilst keeping fit”

Reservist work quite often sees Debbie stepping into supervise valuable Fighter Control training including taking Command of the Section at short notice providing vital direct support to the Air Station, the wider Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Navy. Despite all of this Debbie has still found time to start a family’s happy hour giving partners the opportunity of interaction with the Station.

Debbie said “you don’t do this kind of thing for the recognition I do it because I know how it feels. It’s important to meet other partners in similar circumstances and get out from the four walls. It’s not always easy with children and no extended family to help so we, the Navy, are the family and I source entertainment for the children and catering.”

Lieutenant Commander Phil Richardson said “this is an unseen yet hugely appreciated support function that Debbie has proactively generated and she has personally helped struggling families cope when one parent is away for a period of time. Steadfastly loyal, Debbie is an excellent ambassador for the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserves. An unseen area of support that the military undoubtedly benefits from.”

Debbie, a mother herself of twin girls aged seven, whose husband serves away with the military, was delighted to receive the Commodores award along with a glass decanter inscribed with HMS Heron and a ‘park anywhere permit’ for the Station for one month which is invaluable!


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