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Sergeant Major's royal appointment

PUBLISHED: 12:32 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:33 01 August 2010

Local Army Cadet Force Instructor Sergeant Major Mark Galley swapped his Army uniform for a morning suit when he was invited to attend the first annual Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Local Army Cadet Force Instructor Sergeant Major Mark Galley swapped his Army uniform for a morning suit when he was invited to attend the first annual Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Mark and his partner Abby Moore were invited by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of the service he has given to the Army Cadet Force, particularly during his spell as detachment commander at Beccles.

He said the day was a once in a lifetime experience. “It was a surprise to get invited but was a splendid reward for all of the last 24 years that I have been with the ACF. I must admit I was very nervous about the occasion but once we were there it went extremely quickly, the tea, sandwiches and cakes were quite divine and the stroll around the Royal gardens was beautiful.”

Mark and Abby had the privilege of speaking to HRH Princess Alexandra during the garden party and both laughed as she mentioned that she always stopped in Beccles at the town's delicatessen shop when going to Sandringham. They also added that she was a very nice lady to talk to and was very down to earth and a real peoples person.

Sergeant Major Galley joined the Beccles Detachment, Suffolk Army Cadet Force in 1984. After completing all of his awards as a cadet, he continued in the ACF and became an Adult Instructor in 1989, whilst being a devoted leader he maintained his loyalty and became the Detachment Commander of the Beccles Unit in August 2001.

With lots of success at Beccles the high point came in October 2006 when Beccles Detachment won the Best unit in Suffolk beating 22 units including Ipswich. He moved to the County Headquarters in May 2007, leaving Beccles with 52 cadets and the most respected unit in Suffolk. Sergeant Major Galley is now responsible for co-ordinating The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme for the Suffolk area.

Outside of the Army Cadet Force, Mark works at William Clowes Printers and Bookbinders as the company buyer for all the materials. Abby is a graphic designer at Micropress, Halesworth and they both live in Beccles.