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.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Berskshire Awards Presentation 

The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Mrs Mary Bayliss, presented Lord Lieutenant Certificates to members of the Reserve Forces, appointed her four new Lord Lieutenant Cadets for 2013/14. 

The Lord Lieutenant also awarded BTEC Awards in Public Services to members of the Berkshire Army Cadets and for the second year running presented an award to Berkshire’s best Reservist. 

A special employer award was also presented to Berkshire based Systems Consultants Services Ltd, in Theale.

The Ceremony was held at on Thursday 26 September at the Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madjeski Stadium in Reading.


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

CVQO Video Interview with Regional Ambassador, Rebecca Varney 

Rebecca tells us about the experience of the Duke of Westminster Award 2014 and what it has meant to her. She explains how she hopes it will help her with her plans to become a police officer and how it felt to be nominated by her Commanding Officer. 

Watch the video on our website

Also, consider that this could be a cadet from your unit next year - nominations are open until 8th December on our Duke of Westminster Page.


Following on from the Ashes…

another great event is coming to the Kia Oval - CVQO’s Adult Graduation Ceremony.

Everyone at CVQO is getting very excited about our Graduation Ceremony on the 11th October. The venue this year is the Kia Oval, home to Surrey County Cricket Club, one of the oldest Test match venues in the world and  host to many international and first class cricket fixtures.

We will be pondering some cricket trivia in the run up to the event, and starting a competition in October. Stay tuned for more news…


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


Cadets are Piping hot!

The Cadet Forces Pipes and Drums, most of whom have completed a CVQO-led BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Music, were invited to perform at a unique football match between Heart of Midlothian and Falkirk last weekend.

The match commemorated the 16th Royal Scots Battalion, raised in Edinburgh shortly after the start of the Great War. They provided musical support to the event, at which all personnel were invited guests.

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