My name is Amanda Sargeant aka Bonsai. I have Cerebral Palsy and so suffer from brain damage, due to the fact that I was born premature.
In 2000 I was introduced to the Surrey Army Cadet Force (ACF) by one of my dad’s friends who ran the Walton Detachment at that time. I thought it would be fun and a great opportunity to make friends in my local area as my school was some way off.
Throughout my time at Cadets my self confidence and self esteem had greatly improved. I have made a good deal of friends some of which I still speak to today, some 12 years on.
During the 2 and half years as a Cadet I participated in many events, such as the Remembrance parades, the poppy collecting and many other community events.
The Cadets teaches young people to respect others and the importance of teamwork and communication, all of which I believe are lacking in today’s young people. Activities such as command tasks, drill, and skill at arms strengthen all of these attributes.
Due to my disability I have to use a light manual wheelchair. Cadets being the organisation that they are had never experienced a physically disabled Cadet until now. So my joining was an eye opener. There was no disabled access into the Walton’s Detachment. Surrey Army Cadet Force recognised this problem and rectified it by creating a disabled access ramp going in to the Detachment, they also installed a disabled toilet. So now it accessible for me and other disabled Cadets who may wish to join in the future.
I was an Army cadet for 2 and half years but had to leave due to the fact I was moving house which was in another area.
At the end of last year I was at a loose end in my life and was looking for a new challenge. So I got back in contact with the Walton Detachment Commander and he suggested I should rejoin the Army Cadets as a Civilian Assistant
Now I am back at Walton detachment and my main priority at the moment is sitting in on lessons refreshing on things I have forgotten with the aim of assisting in lessons.
For more information on Surrey Army Cadet Force please visist: http://www.surreyarmycadets.com/ or tel no 01483 425371