Throughout 2018, nine of Durham Army Cadet Force (ACF) finest volunteers set off for various opportunities around the world. The exciting trips recognise the hard work and dedication of the youngster’s in County Durham and South Tyneside. Over the summer months our committed volunteers jet off to adventures in South Africa, Canada, Latvia and Tall Ships Sailing around the United Kingdom.
First of all in July, Sergeant Instructor (SI) Nancy McKenna, 18 from Stanley County Durham jets off to South Africa for two weeks with the 2018 CVQO Westminster Award finalists. Nancy was a finalist in the 2017 award and CVQO have invited her to accompany this year’s lucky top 10 on the all-expense paid educational and cultural expedition. The CVQO Westminster Award is the annual search for the pick of our CVQO learners from across the UK. Each year CVQO look for selfless, determined individuals who always keep their heads up and remain positive through adversity; those who have overcome a personal challenge or gone the distance to help someone. Nancy has been a part of the process since last year, assisting to whittle the cadets down to just 10.
Secondly, after a rigorous selection process in South Wales three Durham cadets have bagged themselves a six-week Canadian adventure; Cadet Corporal Benjamin Harbottle, 16 from Birtley, Cadet Corporal James Godfrey, 16 from Chester le Street and Cadet Lance Corporal Katie Handyside, 16 from Washington will join 43 other youngsters from across the UK when they travel to Canada this summer. The final 46 UK Army Cadets jet off for their respective Canadian activities in July 2018, taking part in either the Cadet Expedition Instructor courses which will take place in Whitehorse in the Yukon territory and Argonaut, New Brunswick. A great opportunity for adventure and culture lies ahead for them, congratulations!
In August, three cadets set off for a ten day training and cultural exercise alongside the Baltic Guard Cadet Forces in Latvia. Cadet Colour Sergeant Adam Curry, 16 from Chester le Street, Cadet Sergeant Callum Anderson, 16 from Chester le Street and Cadet Corporal Amy McCartney, 16 from South Tyneside were selected to take part in the first ever UK Army Cadet exchange visit to Latvia. The chosen Durham three will join other 27 Army Cadets from around the United Kingdom when they fly to the Baltic’s on this once in a lifetime exercise.
Finally, two Durham Army Cadets are to embark on a voyage of remembrance, adventure and personal development to mark a century-old anniversary. They will set sail on the Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge this summer. It is the ultimate nod to the armed forces and their sacrifice for their country. Cadet Corporal Jake Gregory, 16 from Hebburn and Cadet Sergeant Marc Hague, 16 from Stanley are two of 96 Army Cadets to undertake the challenge which is being staged to mark the close of the First World War next year. Our two cadets have been selected from the entire UK Cadet Forces.
Colonel Brian Kitching, Commandant Durham ACF said “this is a truly remarkable record and achievement for any ACF county, to have 9 youngsters who have won places on 4 separate expeditions all over the world is outstanding. I am sure that you will all have an amazing adventure. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of the cadets and our adult volunteers. Our Durham ACF training year will culminate in an annual camp in Northern Ireland this summer with over 500 cadets attending from Durham County”.
This is an exciting time for the chosen nine ACF volunteers who will attend what can only be described as once in a lifetime opportunities courtesy of the Army Cadet Force.