Honour for Duke of Westminster Air Cadet

An Air Cadet from 104 (City of Cambridge) Squadron has been formally appointed as the Lord Lieutenants Cadet for Cambridgeshire.  Cadet Warrant Officer Jess Bradshaw received the honour from former Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Gordon Moulds during the recent Wing Parade held at RAF Wyton.

The role of Lord-Lieutenant involves presiding at various civic and social events and presenting medals and awards on behalf of The Queen.  As Lord Lieutenants Cadet, Cadet Warrant Officer Bradshaw will attend various functions to assist the Lord Lieutenant as he executes his duty and has already greeted Her Majesty The Queen on her arrival at Burghley House as part of her diamond jubilee tour.

Since joining the Air Cadets Cadet Warrant Officer Bradshaw has gained all three levels of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, BTEC awards, first aid qualifications, completed the Nijmegan military marches, gained a communicators badge and completed a gliding scholarship plus much more.  Most recently she discovered she had been nominated for the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Young People of the Year awards known as the YOPEYs and is a finalist in the Duke of Westminster award.  With this she is currently  in South Africa for three weeks in July. 

Cadet Warrant Officer Jess Bradshaw said

“To be selected from all the cadets across Cambridgeshire for this prestigious honour is really exciting and one of the highlights of my cadet career.  Representing the Corps, my Squadron and I in this way is a reason to be very proud”

Flight Lieutenant Richard Slack added

“What Jess has achieved is truly remarkable and serves as good motivation to the younger cadets of what they can achieve if they are motivated and driven.”

Just about to...

put the finishing touches to the training sessions I will be giving starting tomorrow. I’m aiming to cover our new template, use, look & feel and also the new facilities offered by PowerPoint 2010.


Duke of Westminster expedition - Day 12

Final blog

All safe and soundly on their way!  (Huge thanks to Simon, Marisa and Steve from CVQO for piecing together all the blogs, pictures and voice notes from South Africa.) 

They arrived in high spirits, ready and willing to take opportunities, and boy did they do that! 

They leave teary eyes, as I watch my friends depart. They were all amazing and I’m proud of each and every one of them. 

Thanks for my elephant, it’s the most precious gift. 

Don’t be sorry it’s over, be happy it happened. Don’t forget the sand between your toes or the firelight on your skin. Ngiabonga kakulu, I thank you.

Devin Abrahamson
Expedition Leader


Duke of Westminster expedition - cadet diaries - day 11 

Last full day

Today has definitely been one of the highlights of the trip for me. We walked from camp down to Kosi Bay beach, and no words or photos could ever explain how amazing the beach was. It was so so stunning, I could have happily stayed there forever. We took some kayaks and Adam brought his snorkel so in the little estuary at the mouth of the beach, we messed around in the water and it was so much fun. I have never snorkelled before so having Adam teach me how to do it and being able to see some devil fire fish was absolutely amazing. These fish were gorgeous, and out-do all of the fish I’ve ever seen back in England.

Later on, we played some games on the beach and it was so nice. We had a competition between the girls and boys with who could make the best sand sculpture. Us girls made a huge turtle, as we felt it would be relevant as Adam told us yesterday how this beach is a key birthing place for turtles. Our sand turtle was honestly enormous and without sounding big-headed… it was a pretty good sculpture. The boys made a sphinx sculpture which was fairly good, but the girls won in Adam, Devin and Mike’s eyes. After that, we had some lunch which was tasty even with the extra sand which somehow seemed to get everywhere. I’m still finding it everywhere now even after having a shower. After filling ourselves up, we just chilled for about half an hour and I think a few of us dozed off slightly. Then we played some sort of racing game which was fun but I definitely didn’t have any chance in winning.

Mid-afternoon, we went and met a local Zulu man called Jeffrey who showed us how he fished using his fish traps and how he made his spear to catch the fish if and when there were some in his traps. He then let us go out with him and get into the huge trap and see if there were any fish. Unfortunately there weren’t any this time but it was still a great experience to see how these locals devote so much time to try and catch some fish as they unfortunately struggle financially to afford food. The amount of work they put into making these traps completely from scratch is incredible and makes me question how much I’ve moaned before about doing such simple little things.

Then we trekked back and everyone started to prepare for our fancy dress theme tonight for our final evening meal together as a team. Everyone has made such a big effort, and they all look great! Especially Devin who went fully out and has become a woman for the night. Our final indawba around the fire was an emotional one for me, as every single person said something which was really from the heart and it made me realise just how amazingly lucky I am to have had the chance to spend the last 2 weeks with such unique and lovely people. I can happily say I’ve made friends for life, and that makes me smile so much. I look forward to telling all of my family and friends about all of the crazy memories I’ve made.

Charlotte Sheppard – Devon ACF


Duke of Westminster expedition - Day 11

Beach day

Started off the day with another beautiful breakfast at Kosi bay before we headed off to the beach for a day of relaxation and soaking in the sun through the clouds.

After a brief wade through the estuary we set up a camp and started swimming and snorkelling in the estuary. We saw some devil fire fish while snorkelling and matt capsized a few kayaks.

After a packed lunch we all had a moment to reflect on the trip. We then played a few games on the beach and went for another swim before being taken around some local fish traps by Jeffrey ( thanks Jeff), he explained to us the way they were constructed using local materials and that they had been used for over 800 years.

We then headed back up the hill back to camp for tea and a fancy dress evening for our last night in South Africa.

James Clarke- Staffordshire Wing ATC

Day 10 - Cadet diaries - Part 2

Giving up on shoes and trying rugby

It was a slow start this morning at the football and netball tournament with officials turning up late, meaning matches weren’t started and referees admitted they didn’t know the rules of the game. However when the matches got started they were really really good.

Charlotte and I went to watch the netball and those girls could really play, so the games were really exciting to watch! After we left the tournament we went to the school to put the finishing touches to our project which involved using baby wipes to clean paint off the floor - good job we all packed loads and having a good sweep.

We came back to camp for some lunch and then headed off the gorgeous beach. Half way there I decided to be brave and gave up on shoes which was a bad idea with twigs and stones on the paths, but it was a lot quicker than trying to walk in flip flops!

When we arrived, after taking in the views we played touch rugby - which I didn’t quite understand, and we discovered the hidden speed demons in Joanna and Archie!

Right now I’m sitting feeling sooooooooo excited for what’s to come tomorrow, with the beach day, playing games, and getting dressed up for our leaving do in the evening.

Good evening to everyone at home! I’ll be back soon, starting to miss a good cup of tea at the moment!

Amy Broomhead- Read School CCF

Day 10 - cadet diaries

Match Day

A slightly earlier awakening this morning so we could get out to a sports tournament in Manguzi (the town closest to where we are staying) in which Threlfall primary school were playing. As we arrived ready to support the same kids that we have helped, taught and played football/netball with, it was amazing to see around 1000 people also there to play or watch.

While we were just waiting for things to kick off, we all had a bit of a throw about with a volleyball, after a while, one of the kids joined us. Then another. Then another. Eventually we had about 30 people, from different schools and even different countries, in the circle all joining in with the game.

We watched Threlfall’s first game of football, with Oli, James and I all relieved that we didn’t get our call up, and it was great to see so many people so supportive of the kids playing sport. I’ll avoid giving a full match report but the game hit a bump pretty quickly when our very own Mike noticed that the opposition had 12 players on the pitch. Then after a few interesting decisions from the ref, it did raise some questions from the event organisers. We then found out the referee actually had no idea what he was doing – first time I’ve ever seen a match official get sent off a pitch!

Afterwards, we went to tie up all the loose ends at the school project and clear up what we had left behind. A very quick job before we had to say goodbye to Threlfall School. A little sad for us as it has been a great couple of days but we all feel quite proud of what we’ve done and hopeful that we might have made a difference.

This afternoon we took a walk down to the magnificent beach at the mouth of Kosi Bay. On the way we had a look at the fish traps which are made by the local people out of reeds and grasses as a sustainable way of fishing. On the beach we ended up playing some touch rugby and for some reason a sprint race was held – turns out Archie and Jo are pretty rapid on sand.

Everyone seems a bit run down around the fire this evening so an early night might be needed.

On that note, it’s goodnight from Kosi Bay!

Stephen Isherwood – 440 (1st Manx) Sqn ATC

Cadet diaries - Day 9

A day for the kids

Today was a cracking day! We all enjoyed Archie’s birthday celebrations last night but this morning it was back to work on the projects, I’m happy to report that they’re all accomplished and all that remains is tidying up and making it presentable for the handover tomorrow. 

During the children’s break time Becky, Charlotte and Jo’s hair were pulled, stroked and knotted by an army of giggling girls and then things really got going with Ste and myself conducting piggyback races with kids trying to use us as mobile climbing frames, and then the whole group were assaulted by all the kids, it was so much fun and interacting with them is definitely an experience I’ll take away with me.

Following the break, myself, Becky and Archie taught a class of grade 5 students maths, despite doing an A-level in the subject I still struggled with getting my head around common fractions! However after getting past the language barrier which basically involved speaking loudly and making wild gestures, the lesson went really well. The kids were getting involved which made it even better, although despite her best intentions Becky couldn’t get them to understand her Northern accent! 

Afterwards myself, Ste and James went with the school’s football team and played with them, they ran rings around us and I’m fairly sure they were laughing while doing so! It was absolutely knackering and it reminded me why I never made the school team but it was so much fun and we all had a great laugh.

We wrapped the day up with a home visit in the local community, I went with Becky and Archie where we were showed how Zulus start their kitchen fires and how to make peanut soup by a very kind and generous Zulu mother. We tried some of the peanut soup although I suspect it will be the last time I allow myself to taste it! 

We were then shown how traditional lemon juice is made for long journeys and not only did it get the taste of sandy peanuts out of my mouth, but it also overtook the lemonade I’m used to at home as my favourite drink. 

The kids clambered all over us again and stalled us as much as possible when we had to leave. The generosity of the people and their willingness to open up their home and show us their way of life meant a lot to us and it was truly an amazing experience.

We’re off to the local sports tournament tomorrow so our football and netball skills will once again be humiliated, it’s going to be a lot of fun, albeit rather tiring. 

Goodnight from Kosi Bay!

Oli Jones- Cheshire ACF

Cadet diaries - Day 9 - Archie Edmunds

The day we became climbing frames

Yesterday was my 18th birthday which was a day to remember, it marked the start of our community project, and also included a lot of celebrations during the evening. 

I was presented with an amazing cake that had may name iced on and was also given an amazing hand made card, signed by everyone in the group and the instructors. I was also given the chance to phone home and speak to both of my parents which was fantastic. 

After we had finished with our evening meal we all retired to the fire where we all sang songs and played games around the fire which was absolutely fantastic. I will never forget my 18th birthday, it was the best birthday I have ever had and it was an experience that you cannot simply explain, there are no words to describe the events that I will always remember on my 18th birthday, it was a truly unforgettable day. I would like to thank everyone that was involved with making it such a memorable experience.

Today we were all eager to get back into the school where our community project was taking place and we all wanted to make huge advancements in the work we were doing. It was extremely hot in the morning through to mid afternoon, so we all enjoyed having an amazing time whilst working outside. 

At school break time we were met by hundreds of young pupils that all wanted to play. They climbed all over us like we were climbing frames. After break time had ended and we had managed to get the younger pupils off us and back into the classrooms six of us went and taught a lesson. 

Becky, Oli and I all taught maths to the grade five pupils which was extremely fun. At first we were a little bit nervous because of the of the language barrier. But after a few games the pupils /where more confident and communication was made a lot easier. 

After we had taught our lessons the pupils went and played sports before going home. After that the six of us that had taught lessons went on a home visit where we learned all about the Zulu culture and their way of life. 

We were taught how to make a traditional Zulu fruit juice as well as how to make a soup from peanuts. 

Today was a very memorable experience and I look forward to wrapping up the project tomorrow and going to watch the school sports tournament.

Archie Edmunds- Fourth division, The Duke of York’s Royal Military School CCF (Army)


Cadet Diaries - Day 8 - Jo Baker 

Community Project

Under the beating sun with sand between our toes, we all began the projects assigned to us in our groups. The hardware store wasn’t the easiest experience, as part of the curtain making group, we must have changed our plans at least three times! Eventually we succeeded in putting up one curtain rail up today.

Amy, James and I spent the majority of the day with the children of the school as it was our day to teach a lesson. Our lesson, which was on potential and kinetic energy had facts that I didn’t even completely understand myself. We walked into that classroom like aliens. Their bright little faces looked so confused and so shy, and I’m sure our expressions demonstrated our nerves equally. 

In that packed classroom, the language barrier was quite extreme, with the majority of the students knowing a smaller amount of English than I think any of us expected. Through all of my experiences teaching in the ACF I have never come across pupils who wanted to learn, listen and help as much as these pupils. 

We began to speak slower, and they began to understand what we were talking about. James’ funny approach to the lesson really got all of the pupils, even the quietest of the group, involved in the lesson. Seeing Amy, James and myself improve in our teaching methods, and seeing them take in our words was something I will take away with me for my own future. 

After the lesson, I went with Matt, Ste and James to play football with the pupils on their sports break. We dawdled along the sandy path passing grinning kids who waved without worry to what I thought would be a couple of kids kicking a ball around a pitch. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They were in blue and yellow jerseys, running bare foot across soft sand, grass and spiky plants. 

To me they seemed like pros, we were all impressed by their incredible talent at such young ages. I was very tired trying to keep up with their skills. I scored a goal, however, I have a funny feeling the boys were being very sweet to me by not tackling me when I got the ball! The coach taught me how to say certain words in Zulu as we played. He told me that I could learn the language in a week but I think he was just being kind. Playing football was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my time here in South Africa.

We left the pitch to go home with one of the pupils to spend some time with him and his family at their home. I felt slightly out of place, expecting them to take me in as a guest. As we walked and I held onto my camera, I just felt incredibly priviledged beside this boy who had no shoes and had ripped sports shorts on. 

This guilt that I felt made the projects we do here even more important I think. We are making some things here that will last and will remain even after we leave. For me that is vital in our time here. 

When we arrived, we were seated on two mats, greeted by his sister, brother and father. His sister was my age, 17, yet she was working and helping around their land. Alex, our translator and lovely guide helped us talk to the father, who was so kind and welcoming to us. 

We learnt about the lack of jobs here in Kosi bay, which causes the families here to suffer. Sitting there with Amy, James and the family, made me rethink a lot of what I take for granted in the UK, however I didn’t feel sad. The family was so humbled and so kind that I couldn’t feel sad around them. 

I was happy to be with them in that small moment in time. Helping the little boy with his homework and noticing his improvement as we taught him brought a smile to my face and his family’s. We watered his chilli plants and gave the family a gift. They told us we could return any time and even though the likelihood of our return is small, I have hope for them in the future.

Archie turned 18 today and it was brilliant to spend the day with him here at Kosi bay! We had amazing celebrations for him here, including getting a huge group of pupils to sing happy birthday to him. During the evening Anton had organised a huge birthday cake for him, with his name iced on. It was delicious and a lovely way to celebrate his day. The day with the group has been an amazing way to spend Archie’s 18th.

I can’t wait for the rest of the project and the experience here!

Jo Baker - 2nd Northern Ireland Battalion ACF