SEVENTY teenage air and army cadets from Leiston and surrounding areas – together with their adult instructors – were on parade recently for the official re-opening of their training centre by Deputy Lord Lieutenant 0f Suffolk Mr James Servaes, DL.
The event – which took place at Victory Road, Leiston, on Saturday 6th June 2015 – provided opportunity for the young cadets to put on a superb demonstration of skills including computer based training, rifle drill, first aid, fieldcraft, camping and navigation, as well as static displays of model aircraft; a recruiting caravan and a refreshment stand which were all open to the public.
Renovation of the centre, which is jointly shared between Suffolk Army Cadet Force and 1379 (Leiston) Squadron, Air Training Corps, commenced in October 2014 and was completed in March this year. The project, which cost £250,000, was funded jointly by East Anglia Reserve Forces & Cadets Association and HQ Air cadets, based at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
“The upgrade of the building was long overdue”, said John Denson, Adjutant of Leiston Air Cadet Squadron. “The facilities we now have will enable us to offer a wide range of activities to local young people in a safe learning environment for many years to come”.
Improvements to the ageing building included replacing asbestos roofing, new window units, upgrading flooring and installing modern plumbing and heating systems. The new building now provides a wide range of spacious accommodation consisting of lecture rooms, kitchen, offices, a small bore rifle range and equipment storage facilities – all with disabled access.
In addition to officially ‘cutting the tape’ and declaring the new building open, Mr Servaes, a former Captain with the Coldstream Guards,took time to visit each of the displays and speak to the cadets.
Present to witness the event were Colonel GWR French , TD, Commandant of Suffolk Army Cadet Force; Squadron Leader Neill Ovenden, RAFVR(T) of Norfolk and Suffolk Wing, Air Training Corps; Major Andy Smith, Suffolk ACF; Sergeant Vicky Denny, Commander of Leiston Army Cadets and Civilian Instructor John Denson, of the Air Training Corps – together with several cadet force instructors and members of the public.
At the end of the afternoon, Col. French said, “It is a privilege for Mr Servaes to be with us to re-open the centre and to have such excellent new facilities available for the benefit of young people in the local community”