Key Points:

Jenny Fagan has devoted much of her life to the Sea Cadets, a maritime organisation which trains young people aged 13 to 18 in leadership and self-discipline.

Now executive officer of the TS Leander at Devonport, Mrs Fagan, 42, joined the cadets in 1979 and moved into a leadership role at age 20. She has been totally committed ever since.

Mrs Fagan takes the 26 or so cadets of the Leander for "parade night" once a week as well as for weekend activities, plus organises camps and regattas and maintains the cadets' boats and equipment - all of which she balances with shift work. She's now fundraising to take her unit on a tour of the North Island.

"It's a huge commitment," says Cadet Forces northern area co-ordinator Lieutenant Dave Cordery. "Jenny's been here for a long time - she has a Cadet Force class which she got after 24 years. That's up there; there's only a couple of people in the country with a class."

Mrs Fagan says pride in the community is her motivation: "It's satisfaction that I'm providing something for the youth of my community."

Judith Sinclair's daughter Nikki, who is now in the Navy, was one of Mrs Fagan's cadets in the 1990s.

Mrs Sinclair says she will be forever grateful to Mrs Fagan for the commitment she showed to her daughter and other teenagers.

"Jenny has been a guiding hand to many young adults for a great start in life."