Oxfordshire (The Rifles) Battalion ACF hosted their annual Reception and Sounding of Retreat on Saturday 14 May. Guests were entertained by the Corunna Band and Bugles, and had the opportunity to visit a number of stands where they found out more about cadet activities. They also watched a group of cadets from Nivelle Company carry out a field exercise which called for them to put their intelligence gathering and reconnaissance skills into practice.
Colonel Darren Bowyer, Commandant Oxfordshire (The Rifles) Battalion ACF welcomed guests to the reception. He gave them an insight to Cadet activities, highlighting participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award by cadets and instructors. Currently 34 cadets are working for their Bronze Award, 16 for their Silver Award, and 5 adult instructors are working for their Gold Award. There has also been a drive to support sporting activities that sit outside those generally provided by schools including archery and target shooting. He also highlighted the development of first aid skills which cadets have been called to put into practice in real life situations.
Second Lieutenant Mark Johnson has been an Adult Instructor for around 10 years and is the Oxfordshire County Shooting Officer. Mark says “Being an instructor is very different from my day job as a medical design engineer. I am responsible for organising shooting activities for the cadets and have recently taken a group on a week long course. It is fantastic to see cadets go from OK to fairly decent shots. For me being an instructor is a rewarding voluntary hobby.”
Probationary Instructor and former cadet, Lewis Norwood (19) is focused on promoting Oxfordshire ACF via the website and local media. Lewis says “I hope to qualify as an ACF Public Relations Officer and to continue to promote the benefits of the ACF to potential cadets and instructors. This role is completely different to my day job as an apprentice engineer at the Mini plant in Oxford.”
Regimental Sergeant Major and instructor Nicola Stanton (22) says that being a cadet gave her the confidence and team working and leadership skills to secure an apprenticeship with BMW. Now a qualified maintenance engineer, Nicola says “As a senior cadet, I really enjoyed instructing younger members of the detachment. I wanted to give something back to the organisation which has given so much to me. The ACF gave me the skills and confidence to secure my apprenticeship. I would recommend being an instructor to anyone, no experience is needed and the rewards of seeing cadets progress and grow are enormous.”
Former Reservist and retired pharmacist, Major Paul Redwell has been a cadet instructor for 10 years. As Company Commander Nivelle Company, he says “I had never heard of the ACF until I saw a TV advert for cadet instructors and I thought that I would give it a go. When running my pharmacy business, I worked alongside many young people and enjoyed seeing them develop and grown into their role. I felt that with my background I could usefully contribute to the ACF.