Colonel Anthony Fairbanks Weston TD CStJ DL VR is the Chairman of the Suffolk Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (RFCA). This year, Anthony was appointed Honorary Colonel for Suffolk Army Cadets and also Deputy Lieutenant for his county.
On his appointment to Deputy Lieutenant, Anthony said: “I am deeply honoured and I think it is much more a mark of the esteem in which the RFCA and our Reserves and Cadets are held than anything I have done!!”
Indeed, about 20% of East Anglia RFCA members and staff hold the appointment of Deputy Lieutenant in their respective counties. The primary function of a Deputy Lieutenant is to assist the Lord Lieutenant in carrying out their role as the Queen’s Representative. This might include representing the Lord-Lieutenant upon the arrival of dignitaries to the county, supporting the Lord-Lieutenant at presentations of Queen’s Award ceremonies, Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service or attending Remembrance Services.
Anthony holds the Reserve Forces and Cadets portfolio, reporting back to the Lord Lieutenant for Suffolk on how the Reserve Forces and Cadets are doing in the county. “The Lord Lieutenant is a huge supporter of our Reserve Forces and Cadets,” he added.
Anthony will represent the Lord Lieutenant at a Memorial on Remembrance Day and he is also involved in the planning of some unique military ceremonies. Last year, he planned Suffolk county’s Cathedral service to mark the centenary of the Armistice and he is currently helping to plan how they commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE and VJ day next year.
This all follows the announcement in January that Anthony was appointed Honorary Colonel, Suffolk Army Cadet Force by Col Andy Smith, the Commandant of Suffolk Army Cadet Force.
Anthony will serve in this appointment for an initial period of 5 years. Being Honorary Colonel allows him to do more of what he enjoys most; spending time meeting the cadets and dedicated adult volunteers. This year he visited two of the Suffolk Army Cadet Force Companies on collective training weekends out on STANTA, and he visited Annual Camp.
Anthony said: “Each of the visits allows me to see first-hand how much our cadets enjoy themselves out in the field, learning new skills and testing themselves in ways they would never expect.”
“It is about fun, friendship, action and adventure underpinned by core military values that enable them to develop really important life skills that will help them in the future – confidence, communication, teamwork, leadership, taking responsibility, supporting others. You can see the cadets grow in confidence.”
“But of course none of this would be possible without our Adult Volunteers and our Cadet Force Officers. and so the visits are also a chance for me to thank them for all that they do.” He added: “One of the best things to be asked to do is to present an award or make a promotion. I hope I make them feel proud of what they have achieved.”
Colonel Anthony Fairbanks Weston succeeded Colonel Paul Long as Chairman of Suffolk’s RFCA Forum, having been his Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Suffolk Employer Engagement Group.
Anthony said of his predecessor: “Colonel Paul was an inspirational and utterly charming man, he was a Regular soldier, commanded a TA Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment and was subsequently Colonel Commandant and Honorary Colonel of Suffolk ACF. He was a Suffolk man through and through and someone I had huge respect for.”
Anthony’s previous knowledge of the cadet force was limited to Combined Cadet Forces in school settings rather than community cadet forces. Through his involvement with the RFCA, he learned more about the cadet forces as a whole and witnessed what a real difference the community cadet forces can make to the lives of young people.
So for the new Honorary Colonel of Suffolk Army Cadet Force, the three most important things that he can do are:
- Support the Commandant and his staff;
- Promote Suffolk ACF as a fun and exciting organisation to be part of; and
- Encourage and promote the fantastic contribution made by our CFAVs.
Anthony has recently set up a Cadet and Youth Engagement Group within the Suffolk Forum, working with other uniformed and non-uniformed youth organisations and County Council children’s services, to look at how the Forum can help tackle some of the social issues that are so prevalent in the more disadvantaged areas of Suffolk.