When Jessica joined the army cadets her intention was simply to build her confidence and try something new.
Never could she have imagined that five years later she would be among the lucky few invited to the Coronation.
Headed to London this weekend, Jessica said: “It has all come as a bit of a surprise, but I am looking forward to it.”
Celebrating in style, she also has tickets to the Coronation concert on Sunday.
For the 17-year-old Stockton Riverside College student from Yarm, it’s just the start of a host of events she will be attending this year.
Selected among the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Jo Ropner’s cadets, Jessica will be required to assist with a variety of Royal visits and other official duties throughout the year.
The fact that it has fallen in the Coronation year means there will no doubt be a hectic schedule ahead.
Joining the Cleveland Army Cadet Force at 12, Jessica said: “I already knew a few people who were in the cadets at the time when they came to an assembly at school. As soon as I turned 12, I joined and I have stuck with it ever since.”
For her it proved a chance to develop new skills. She said: “Before cadets I used to be quiet and kept myself to myself. It helped to build my confidence and now I am much more willing to put myself out there.”
Now a cadet Staff Sergeant, it was Jessica’s progress that inspired her Officer in Command to put her name forward as the Lord Lieutenant’s cadet.
Going through an interview and selection process, Jessica said: “It felt like I had really achieved something.”
She describes everything that has followed since as both exciting and nerve wracking.
Now also to be among the cadets selected to attend the Coronation on Saturday, she said: “I am aware that these are all experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. It is exciting.”
Jessica is currently in her second year studying health and social care at Stockton Riverside College, she hopes to continue her studies and eventually become a physiotherapist in the military.