Monthly Archives: March 2014

Surrey ACF Band Play at the First ever Guildford Half Marathon

Surrey Army Cadet Force Band

Back in October 2013 Surrey ACF Band were approached by Kirsty Newton (one of the event planners) to supply the music at one of the posts along the route of the first Surrey Half Marathon.  The Band would be tasked to play for the runners and crowd on the day.

Band of the Surrey Army Cadet Force

Band of the Surrey Army Cadet Force

It was a huge task as the Band only formed in May 2012 with only 6 players two adults and four young cadets none of which had played any musical instrument, but the Band grew and so did it’s experience with now a total of 18 members, 11 cadets 5 of which are beginners and 7 adults 1 of which is a beginners.  Excitement grew at the thought of playing our very first stand-alone open air performance, the choice of music had to cover the runners and crowd.  The Band worked hard under the Conductor’s guiding hand (CSM Kit Donal) and Mr Clive James (Civilian Assistant and Music Advisor) to ensure that the Band had the correct music, professionalism and dedication to put out a top performance on the day.

Band in full swing

Band in full swing

The Band voted for the theme tune Chariots of Fire to play for the runners to mark their efforts, this was played on a loop for best part of 15 minutes! That was tough for the Band but they did a fantastic job!, other tunes included Forrest Gump, Cabaret, Pirates of the Caribbean and marches to lift the crowd.  It was a proud day for all.

The day started at 0600 for the minibus driver and escort to pick up cadets from Dorking, the rest of the Band meeting at their home location at Guildford ACF Hut at 0800hrs, the equipment had to be loaded in a quick turnaround to be at the post at Burpham Lane by 0900, the mad rush to unpack, put up the tent, seating and stands preceded along with getting into full ceremonial dress, time of a quick tune up then at 1015 the first of the runners were through.

It was a glorious day, sun shining, large crowd great music! Surrey ACF Band are proud that they took part in such an occasion and they had great feedback too, and it’s anticipated they will be asked to do it all over again next year!

The Band Sergeant Major (and Conductor) Kit Donal would like to say a huge thank you to all the CFAV and CA’s that took part in the event because without your hard work we could not do this, and to all the cadets that were there well done on playing so well keep up the hard work you have made me so proud.

If you are interested in joing Surrey Army Cadet Force Band please email or visit


Westerham Sea Cadets visit Malta.

TS Gallant pays it’s respects in Malta

On the 10th January 1941, HMS Gallant, part of the Malta Convoy, hit an Italian mine and lost 59 men (others subsequently died of their injuries), she limped into Malta and while being assessed was bombed and deemed beyond repair, she was towed outside the Maltese Island of St Pauls and sank as a deterrent to enemy submarines.

Over 70 years later, late in 2012, TS Gallant, Westerham Sea Cadets paid their respects to the last survivor of off that ship as he joined his fellow shipmates. The day was one of great pride and sadness as we who had got to know Petty Officer Stoker Cyril Edwards said our goodbyes.

It was during the service that it was mentioned he had never returned to Malta, always saying he wanted to go and pay his respects to his shipmates, therefore the idea was born when a cadet asked ‘why can’t we do it for him?’

That comment was the start of a year of hard work, raising money at every opportunity that came along, whether it be a band gig, boot sale, village fete, pyjama night, nothing was too big or small for us to attend and tell everybody and anybody who would listen what we were doing and why.

TS Gallant during the Memorial Service

TS Gallant during the Memorial Service

During the year, Cadets managed to raise just over £10,000 to make the trip possible.

So February half term 2014, we were off, it was incredibly to think that all the hard work had made an ex- navy PO’s dream a reality.

A memorial service was held in Valletta, led by our District Padre Douglas Perkins, where wreathes were laid, a two minute silence observed and all the names read out by the cadets, making it a truly inclusive occasion. The memorial of ‘The Man at Rest’ was our chosen point having spent many months researching all the memorials in Malta. The day was rounded off by a boat trip, unfortunately we were unable to go out to the island of St Pauls due to the time of year, but we were able to throw 59 poppies into the sea outside the harbour wall.

We were also fortunate to spend two evenings with TS Paul unit based in Malta and the cadets were inspected by the Naval attaché from the United States of America.

Westerham Sea Cadets board HMS Daring

Westerham Sea Cadets board HMS Daring

HMS Daring was also in Malta, so along with Maltese Cadets and Royal Marines we spent a couple of hours being given the grand tour. Our trip also included a visit to Mdina (the silent city), as well as experiencing the 5D experience, some retail therapy in Bugibba and Valletta. No trip would be complete without a trip to Popeye village where cadets took part in team building exercises as well as making a DVD.

It was an honour to be able to lead a group of cadets on such an amazing journey, their conduct throughout the week was exemplary, they were and are a credit to themselves, TS Gallant, Westerham Sea Cadets and to the Corps.

None of this however would have been possible without the support of all the staff, Committee, parents and everyone involved with TS Gallant Westerham Sea Cadets.

For more information on the Sea Cadets please visit