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Cadets Receive Notebook Computers

Posted on 7th February, 2021

Thanks to the continued financial support of our Friends, we have now purchased 60 refurbished electronic notebooks, complete with cases, that are being distributed to our cadets who have limited or no access to IT. Each of the four companies has received 12 notebooks with the remaining 12 notebooks being utilised at the Cannock Cadet Training Centre, where the cadets will use them during indoor and outdoor activities. This initiative allows the cadets to continue to access their current training syllabus, enhance their learning and access the same opportunities available to others during lockdown.

Ongoing plans are in place to purchase additional a small number of notebooks to supplement the original stock and form a lasting legacy from the charity.

Pictures show Cadets Marsh and Harper receiving their notebooks from SSI Swider. Both cadets, along with their parents, expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the assistance, stating this will assist their school and social interaction as well as providing the means to participate in virtual cadet activities. Both are now able to access and interact with Cadet online activities and training.

Annual Regimental Dinner 2021 – Unfortunately Cancelled due to Covid

Posted on 27th January, 2021

It is with great sadness and disappointment that the Trustees have taken the decision to cancel the annual regimental dinner again in 2021. Our priority is to help keep our cadets, supporters and friends safe during these unprecedented times, as we’re sure you will understand.

The work of the Trust in the support of our cadets has continued and we look forward to a full programme of events at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, we thank all of our friends and sponsors for their continued support.

Those who have already made a reservation for the 2021 event will be contacted via post with further information.

Work is already underway to organise this event in again 2022 when we hope to see as many of you as possible. Please watch this space for more details.

A Grandfathers War

Posted on 18th January, 2021

Those of you who have an interest in the 1914-18 First World War, often called the Great War, will be interested in a presentation that has been compiled by one of our Trustees, Malcolm Sperring-Toy. In this presentation, Malcolm traces the personal experiences of his Grandfather, Joseph Arthur Toy, who served with 286th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery after volunteering for service on 12th December 1915 at Whittington Barracks, Staffordshire. ‘A Grandfathers War’ can be found by following this link: https://youtu.be/96NzFtyszIw

If anyone has any questions about the presentation or would like to contact Malcolm, you can email him at this address; msfam2@aol.com

Happy New Year 2021

Posted on 1st January, 2021

The Trustees of the Friends of the Staffordshire and West Midlands (Northern Sector) Army Cadet Force would like to wish all of our Friends, Sponsors and Supporters a very peaceful, happy, safe and successful 2021. We look forward to meeting up with you all as soon as we are able this coming year.

December 2020 Newsletter

Posted on 28th December, 2020

The full December 2020 Friends newsletter can be accessed via the below link;

Newsletter Dec28 Web

VALEDICTORY from The Staffordshire and West Midlands ACF Honorary Colonel – Mr Mike Frewer

Posted on 23rd December, 2020

Time does fly by all too quickly and so the end of this year marks the end of my tenure. It has been a huge honour and my great privilege to serve as your Honorary Colonel.
I have enjoyed great times and shared many splendid occasions with you all, but the past year has, of course, been a particularly difficult one for us all and I very much regret having to leave you at this time. Knowing you all as I do, however, I have every confidence for the future, given your focus and resilience. Much has been achieved in adversity in the past and you will do it all again.
When I first arrived and ever since, I have been immensely impressed by our Cadets; their confidence; commitment; their humour and their enthusiasm to learn and to lead their peers, which has all continued “virtually” throughout the lockdown and further restrictions.
I remain equally impressed by our CFAVs for your inspirational leadership and outstanding commitment, often whilst still leading busy work and personal lives. Whenever we see Cadets in training or on parade, they demonstrate a clear tribute to all your endeavours. Thank you to all who have managed excellent communications and “virtual” training for our Cadets, successfully maintaining their interest in these difficult times. Special thanks are also due to the Permanent Staff and all those who have worked so hard during recent months to make the County estate Covid-secure and to facilitate RTT.
As many of you know, I have also had an ambassadorial role for the County in our wider communities, particularly to civic and business leaders and I have always taken every opportunity to try and get across the message that our former Cadets make excellent future employees, notably for all the transferable skills they have learned and I will continue to do so. Very often I have received unexpected and glowing comments about our County activities, which have always been a great source of pride to me and should be for you all.
Now a few words of thanks and appreciation on behalf of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity (Staffordshire) to all of you who, over the years, have supported The Stoke-on-Trent Military Tattoo, which I have had the honour to organise. All Companies have participated, either in support roles or in memorable performances by the County Corps of Drums and by D Coy providing superb stewarding duties. All appreciated and much commented upon by Tattoo audiences.
I should also acknowledge, with grateful thanks, the work our Friend’s Trustees in supporting our Cadets with funding for activities and equipment which cannot otherwise be funded.
And finally, a word of thanks and appreciation for Lt Col David Reeve, who retires at the end of this month and who has been an outstanding CEO and tremendous support to us all.
Having been associated with our County ACF and WM RFCA for many years, I am of course, very sad to be stepping down as your Honorary Colonel, but I do look forward to keeping in touch in the years to come. And so it is with a heavy heart that I must say farewell and behalf of my wife Sally, best wishes for Christmas and the future to you all.

Lt Col. Mark Benson (Trustee) – Cadet Operations Update December 2020

Posted on 23rd December, 2020

Cadet Operations December 2020 UPDATE : Lt Col. Mark Benson Trustee

This has been a very challenging year for the County where we have probably faced the most difficult set of circumstances in our history to date.

The Commandant wrote a very comprehensive Recovery Plan which we have been following although Government changes have meant we have had to be adaptable and quick thinking in our approach. At the heart of the Commandant’s Recovery plan was the introduction of a very strong communications culture so that we could all stay connected. The Commandant also introduced a Training Champion system for each Company. This meant that the Commandants O Group was split into two, essentially one group with all the Company Commanders and the other, the permanent staff and Deputy Commandants. The CTO attended both along with the TSA. These zoom meetings were held every month until September when the full O Group met again at County HQ. The Company Commanders all held zoom conference calls with staff monthly and this was mirrored by Detachment Commanders too. The Commandant held zoom meetings with Detachment Commanders at a Zoom Majlis and held two Zoom Majlis meetings with the senior cadets in the County. Over the last 8 months the Commandant put out 7 Video Bulletins to all cadets and adults via County social media, which proved to be very popular.

The Deputy County Training Officer, Capt. Kim Haynes, who took on the full County Training Officer role during most of the lockdown period, managed with the enthusiastic input of all the Company Training Champions to produce over 150 training presentations which were then programmed for delivery throughout the lockdown and beyond. It was a significant achievement and helped considerably in keeping the County fully engaged.

In the Autumn, the County planned and implemented a programme for opening up all the detachments less those at school locations. The County led the way in the Brigade and launched the reopening of 35 detachments ahead of most Counties in the Country. The Commandant has stressed to all adults that they do not have to come back to duty, but to come back when they feel safe and ready. But there is no doubt that for the few nights detachments were open before the November lockdown, the cadets were extremely pleased to be back meeting their mates and not having to engage on zoom calls ! The County is ready to open again in December. The Commandant has stressed the need to take things slowly and is not expecting the County to be back to normal until at least April.

A new Adult Training package is being put together by Lt Col Mark Benson ably assisted by SMI Philips. A new policy document will be completed by the end of December.

We say a fond farewell to our CEO, Lt Col David Reeve, who will be much missed and the County intend to give him a big send off at the next Officers Mess Dinner night. More to follow on that soon. He will be replaced Major Kevin O’Riordan, currently OC B Company who is already well known in the County and he has been enthusiastically welcomed into the post. The new OC B Company is yet another highly experienced Reserve officer, Major Phil Hurley who takes up post on the 15th December. The County now has a very strong team of Company Commanders in Major Steve Lewis (A Coy), Major Phil Hurley (B Coy), Capt. Matt Easterbrook (C Coy) and Major Darron Moody (D Coy).
We also say farewell and offer a big thanks to Col Mike Frewer our Honorary Colonel who steps down on the 31st December at the end of his tenure and look forward to dining him out in style next year. He is being replaced by Major Cassian Roberts a former Irish Guards officer who was, until recently, the High Sherriff of Worcestershire. Cassian is the brother of Maj Gen Sir Sebastian Roberts KCVO OBE, Colonel of the Irish Guards before HRH Prince William. He is also a friend of the current CGS, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith KCB, CBE, ADC. The Commandant has asked the new Honorary Colonel to assist the Trust as one of his principle tasks.

The Commandant is scheduled to meet (via Zoom) Maj Gen John Henderson CB on the 16th December, who is the CEO of Staffordshire County Council to look at ways of strengthening recruitment for cadets and adults alike across the County.

There is a long list of adults who have been put forward for awards for their hard work and dedication during the last 8 months. The County has performed particularly well under exceptionally difficult circumstances and stayed true to the cause. Major Rob Bradburn, Padre Stuart Powell, Capt. Kim Haynes and SMI Dave Wiley are amongst those being put forward.

Annual Camp next year will be shortened and undertaken locally at Swynnerton, Leek and CTC Cannock Chase. There will be more on this in the New Year, as this is a very recent and sudden change. Major Ann Dunn moved very quickly to produce an excellent outline plan which has been accepted by Bde. The dates allocated for this County are from the 3rd August to the 7th August inclusive. But expect changes!

The Commandant has been working closely with the TSA to produce plans for a new Army Cadet Safety Management System. A template has been produced and will be given to the O Group for discussion in December.

The cadets within the county have not only had the opportunity to engage in virtual training during the periods when the face-to-face training has not been possible, but also engage in some events that companies have created to inject some fun into what a difficult time for some. These events have included quizzes, competitions and virtual events which have taken place on Zoom and through Facebook, the most recent of which has been the wearing of odd socks to support the anti-bullying campaign. Cadets across the county have joined in on doorstep applause and salutes for the NHS and most recently Remembrance Sunday.

The kind donation of laptops by the friends will now enable the county to offer further support to cadets who have struggled to engage in any of the virtual events. These cadets may otherwise of been at risk of losing the connection with their friends within detachments and across the wider county as well as missing out on training opportunities.

Cadet Operations UPDATE : Lt Col. Mark Benson Trustee

Posted on 23rd December, 2020

This has been a very challenging year for the County where we have probably faced the most difficult set of circumstances in our history to date.

The Commandant wrote a very comprehensive Recovery Plan which we have been following although Government changes have meant we have had to be adaptable and quick thinking in our approach. At the heart of the Commandant’s Recovery plan was the introduction of a very strong communications culture so that we could all stay connected. The Commandant also introduced a Training Champion system for each Company. This meant that the Commandants O Group was split into two, essentially one group with all the Company Commanders and the other, the permanent staff and Deputy Commandants. The CTO attended both along with the TSA. These zoom meetings were held every month until September when the full O Group met again at County HQ. The Company Commanders all held zoom conference calls with staff monthly and this was mirrored by Detachment Commanders too. The Commandant held zoom meetings with Detachment Commanders at a Zoom Majlis and held two Zoom Majlis meetings with the senior cadets in the County. Over the last 8 months the Commandant put out 7 Video Bulletins to all cadets and adults via County social media, which proved to be very popular.

The Deputy County Training Officer, Capt. Kim Haynes, who took on the full County Training Officer role during most of the lockdown period, managed with the enthusiastic input of all the Company Training Champions to produce over 150 training presentations which were then programmed for delivery throughout the lockdown and beyond. It was a significant achievement and helped considerably in keeping the County fully engaged.

In the Autumn, the County planned and implemented a programme for opening up all the detachments less those at school locations. The County led the way in the Brigade and launched the reopening of 35 detachments ahead of most Counties in the Country. The Commandant has stressed to all adults that they do not have to come back to duty, but to come back when they feel safe and ready. But there is no doubt that for the few nights detachments were open before the November lockdown, the cadets were extremely pleased to be back meeting their mates and not having to engage on zoom calls ! The County is ready to open again in December. The Commandant has stressed the need to take things slowly and is not expecting the County to be back to normal until at least April.

A new Adult Training package is being put together by Lt Col Mark Benson ably assisted by SMI Philips. A new policy document will be completed by the end of December.

We say a fond farewell to our CEO, Lt Col David Reeve, who will be much missed and the County intend to give him a big send off at the next Officers Mess Dinner night. More to follow on that soon. He will be replaced Major Kevin O’Riordan, currently OC B Company who is already well known in the County and he has been enthusiastically welcomed into the post. The new OC B Company is yet another highly experienced Reserve officer, Major Phil Hurley who takes up post on the 15th December. The County now has a very strong team of Company Commanders in Major Steve Lewis (A Coy), Major Phil Hurley (B Coy), Capt. Matt Easterbrook (C Coy) and Major Darron Moody (D Coy).
We also say farewell and offer a big thanks to Col Mike Frewer our Honorary Colonel who steps down on the 31st December at the end of his tenure and look forward to dining him out in style next year. He is being replaced by Major Cassian Roberts a former Irish Guards officer who was, until recently, the High Sherriff of Worcestershire. Cassian is the brother of Maj Gen Sir Sebastian Roberts KCVO OBE, Colonel of the Irish Guards before HRH Prince William. He is also a friend of the current CGS, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith KCB, CBE, ADC. The Commandant has asked the new Honorary Colonel to assist the Trust as one of his principle tasks.

The Commandant is scheduled to meet (via Zoom) Maj Gen John Henderson CB on the 16th December, who is the CEO of Staffordshire County Council to look at ways of strengthening recruitment for cadets and adults alike across the County.

There is a long list of adults who have been put forward for awards for their hard work and dedication during the last 8 months. The County has performed particularly well under exceptionally difficult circumstances and stayed true to the cause. Major Rob Bradburn, Padre Stuart Powell, Capt. Kim Haynes and SMI Dave Wiley are amongst those being put forward.

Annual Camp next year will be shortened and undertaken locally at Swynnerton, Leek and CTC Cannock Chase. There will be more on this in the New Year, as this is a very recent and sudden change. Major Ann Dunn moved very quickly to produce an excellent outline plan which has been accepted by Bde. The dates allocated for this County are from the 3rd August to the 7th August inclusive. But expect changes!

The Commandant has been working closely with the TSA to produce plans for a new Army Cadet Safety Management System. A template has been produced and will be given to the O Group for discussion in December.

The cadets within the county have not only had the opportunity to engage in virtual training during the periods when the face-to-face training has not been possible, but also engage in some events that companies have created to inject some fun into what a difficult time for some. These events have included quizzes, competitions and virtual events which have taken place on Zoom and through Facebook, the most recent of which has been the wearing of odd socks to support the anti-bullying campaign. Cadets across the county have joined in on doorstep applause and salutes for the NHS and most recently Remembrance Sunday.

The kind donation of laptops by the friends will now enable the county to offer further support to cadets who have struggled to engage in any of the virtual events. These cadets may otherwise of been at risk of losing the connection with their friends within detachments and across the wider county as well as missing out on training opportunities.

Supporting the Stoke-on-Trent Military Tattoo

Posted on 7th January, 2019

The ‘Friends’ Trustees are pleased to support the annual Stoke-on-Trent Military Tattoo, where our very own Corps of Drums can be seen in action.

Why I became a Trustee & Friend of the Staffordshire & West Midlands Army Cadet Force

Posted on 12th December, 2018

Some years ago I was asked by a long-standing friend, Graham Stow, now President of the Friends of the Staffordshire & West Midlands Army Cadet Force to become a ‘Friend’.

 

At the time I was heavily involved in both my work as a travel advisor and other charitable organisations in my home town of Leek and across the county and I decided that adding a further commitment was not sensible. Big mistake!

 

One of my principal interests is the military and political history of the Great War and the Battles of the Somme in particular. Since the late 1980’s I have been visiting the 1916 Somme battlefields either as an individual, with friends and also escorting school and adult groups usually on four-day tours. Although now well read on the actions of 1916 along with the topography of the British Front Line and rear areas, one learns of additional new information on every visit.

 

Being aware of my knowledge and many visits to the Somme, my friend Graham Stow who also shares the same interest and knowledge of the Battles of the Somme asked me to organise a group visit by Cadets to the battlefields which was arranged for the October half-term of 2015. The group consisted of 28 male and female Cadets from each of the four Companys and 9 Officers/NCO’s.

 

Having no previous connection of knowledge of the structure of the Army Cadet Force I very quickly began to appreciate what a wonderful organisation it was. I saw young people aged from 11 to 18 years being taught respect, self-discipline, manners and a concern for their community. These valuable attributes were in addition to experiencing comradeship, development of leadership skills and of course, the opportunity of field adventures such as rock climbing, canoeing, target shooting and field exercises at the annual summer camp. The cadet force is open and gives support to young people from all backgrounds and financial standing.

 

Even perhaps more importantly, through the fund-raising efforts of the Trustee’s and ‘Friends’ and the supporters, we offer Further Educational opportunities to older and deserving cadets in the form of support such as financial bursary’s to those who wish to improve their education but do not have any access to funding for such things as fees, books or travel to further education establishments.

 

The Army Cadet Force is described by many as ‘The World’s Greatest Youth Club’ and I can certainly now see why and can fully commend support of this wonderful organisation.

 

Malcolm Sperring-Toy – November 2018

 

Footnote: If you would like to be considered as a Trustee, please contact our Chairperson