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Senior Royal Marine opens school cadet force in Newcastle

Senior Royal Marine opens school cadet force in Newcastle
5 May 2017
A Cadet Force detachment held its inaugural first parade in honour of their grand opening that marks the beginning the first Royal Marines Combined Cadet Force (CCF) Unit in Newcastle.

Bringing together two schools from the region, Dame Allan’s Schools and St Thomas More Catholic School, the small ceremony saw Cadets proudly paraded in front of Brigadier Richard Spencer OBE ADC who took their salute as the Deputy Commandant General of the Royal Marines.

Brigadier Spencer is the second most senior Royal Marine in the country and the Assistant Chief Of Staff Land and Littoral Manoeuvre, at Navy Command.

Their first parade, held on 2 May echoes the same day 104 years before that a similar Cadet Unit paraded at Dame Allan’s Schools, before World War One in 1913.

The Force, then called the Cadet Corps became one of the first Cadet Units in the North East. Now over a century, two World Wars and four Monarchs later the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) has opened once again.

This is a safe place to develop and undertake some fun and challenging activities, underpinned by the values and standards of the Royal Marines and the Naval Service

Brigadier Richard Spencer OBE ADC, Deputy Commandant General Royal Marines

Phil Wildsmith, Biology teacher, Head of Boys and Contingent Commander, explained, “I was a cadet myself, many moons ago. We’re developing some great work here, most notably a partnership with St Thomas More School and getting the cadets involved with our outdoor activity department.

“I did my basic officers course down in Devon with the Royal Marines and I’m looking forward to putting it all into practice.”

Back in 1913 the Cadet Corps drew from just Dame Allan’s Schools and continued through the best part of the 20th century in various forms right up until the early 1960s.

Now 57 years later the CCF has re-established those links and will recruit Girls and Boys at Dame Allan’s Schools and St Thomas More School in Blaydon.

Royal Marine Cadet Diya Varghese (15) one of the female cadets, commented, “I feel very proud to be part of the Cadets, it’s something new and unique in Newcastle. I see myself as a leader, do really well and gain greater opportunities in the future.”

The CCF Unit in both schools has proved popular with many and recruitment is strong, offering a broader view to develop Leadership, Teamwork and Disciple within their ranks.

They are also working closely with the outdoors activities department at Dame Allan’s and encouraging adventure training.

Dr John Hind, Principal of Dame Allan’s said, “It’s an interesting new chapter for our school. The CCF offers things we can’t in other ways and it’s great to partner St Thomas More’s. The Royal Marines have given us a lot of support and their youth teams are here almost every week.”

Brigadier Spencer spoke of close ties with the Corps and welcomed all into the wider Royal Marines Family.

He said, “This is a safe place to develop and undertake some fun and challenging activities, underpinned by the values and standards of the Royal Marines and the Naval Service,” he said.

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