Trip of a lifetime for Chichester Air Cadets


Recently, two Air Cadets from Chichester travelled 6000 miles to South America for a once in a lifetime trip to Peru.

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Cadet Sergeant Elyot Harmston and Cadet Corporal Jonty Parkin were part of a selected group of 24 Air Cadets from all over Sussex. During their three-week expedition they helped to construct a new building at an Orphanage called Azul Wazi – translated as ‘The Blue House’. Their reward for such hard work was a 75km expedition at heights of over 4,500 meters over five days along the Salkantay trail to reach Machu Picchu.

The unique part of this trip was that the Cadets ran the entire expedition, with Staff supporting them in the decision making if needed. Elyot and Jonty had been selected for this expedition, and to earn a place had to go through a grueling selection. Once selected they took part in military leadership training and training from the Edale Mountain Rescue Team in the Peak District.

Many of the cadets raised their own funds to make the trip and one even arranged crowd funding for new clothing and musical instruments to be purchased for the 19 orphans who live at Azul Wasi.

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Reflecting on the trip Cadet Sergeant Elyot Harmston, said:

“Working at the orphanage had a big impact. I have done construction work like that before and it was interesting to see the different building methods. However, seeing what a huge impact our work would make to the orphans and orphanage was really eye opening for me.”

One of the Staff on Jonty and Elyot’s trip was one of the Officers from their Squadron. Flying Officer Richard Foster, said:

“To have enabled a group of keen and enthusiastic young people was a privilege. To see how they overcame various obstacles and challenges, and to help them to overcome them was really rewarding and it was a privilege to be a part of their journey. I was lucky to have taken part in a similar trip at their age, and it changed and shaped my life for the better – it hope it does the same for them.”

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Could you be the next Elyot or Jonty and take a trip like this? Overseas expeditions are one of the many things that Air Cadets get to take part in including the Duke of Edinburgh’s award, visiting RAF Stations and Adventure Training.

It’s never too late to join, Chichester Air Cadets is recruiting, if you are interested in joining and are aged 12-17, you can contact us on for details of our next open evening. We also welcome applications for adult volunteers, who can contact us on the same address.

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Credit – Richard Foster


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