Army and Royal Air Force Air Cadets from Dover and the surrounding area joined Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, The Viscount De L’Isle MBE and other local and military dignitaries at the official opening of their new Joint Cadet Centre at Dover, on Thursday 19 April 2018.
The new Joint Centre is now home to approximately 80 Cadets and also the B Company Headquarters of Kent Army Cadet Force. The building previously accommodated a Dover-based Reservist Platoon. The converted construction is based on the current MOD Cadet designs for these centres and has resulted in the internal renovation of the existing Reserves Centre buildings and includes a large Drill Hall, classrooms, kitchenette, toilets, the existing indoor small bore target rifle range, administrative offices for the adult personnel, and store rooms. Each of the three units have separate accommodation but with some sharing of the communal assets.
Dover has had a long history associated with the Armed Forces and, under the direction of the Army 2020 Basing Review, the Reserves and the Army Recruiting Organisation were moved out of the area, thereby vacating the Army Reserves Centre. The site has proved to be an ideal location to operate as a more permanent base for the local Army and Air Cadet Forces, which are military sponsored cadet organisations and for the Units concerned to be based at the same place, under the auspices of the South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association. These projects benefit the taxpayer, by having a facility that is now in full use throughout the week, together with some weekends.
Both the Air Cadets and Army Cadets parade on a Tuesday and Thursday night from 1900-2100. The detachments are always looking for young people and adults to join them and take the opportunity to learn new skills, make new friends and earn qualifications in the process.
Lieutenant Breeshea Robinson, Detachment Commander, Dover Army Cadet Force said:
“We are very lucky at Dover to have such a great building now run jointly with the Air Cadets – it’s a great opportunity for us to learn from each other. It feels like the building has a new lease of life! I’m very proud of my cadets and staff and we were honoured to have the Lord-Lieutenant and other dignitaries in attendance”.
WO Matt Dando, Officer in Charge, Dover Squadron said:
“The opening of the joint cadet centre by the Lord-Lieutenant marks the beginning of a new era for Dover Squadron. With better facilities it offers more opportunities for the cadets and allows for combined activities with Dover Detachment ACF”.
After unveiling a wall plaque and declaring the new Joint Cadet Centre open, the Lord-Lieutenant, accompanied by other visitors, toured the Cadets’ accommodation and watched training taking place.
Major James Thomas Byford McCudden VC DSO MC MM CdeG(FR) RAF, the most highly decorated WWI airman of the entire British Empire, has been honoured with two new memorials marking the 100th anniversary of the awarding of his Victoria Cross.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle MBE, attended the unveiling of the first memorial paving stone at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham, the town of Major McCudden’s birth, on 12th April 2018.
Major McCudden grew up and went to school on the Island of Sheppey, where the second memorial stone was unveiled at the Sheerness War Memorial on 21st April 2018 by Deputy Lieutenant of Kent Mr Paul Auston DL.
As children, James and his elder brother Willie spent hours watching early planes take off from Eastchurch and both vowed to become pilots. At 14, James left the Garrison School and joined Sheerness Post Office as a telegram boy and by 1910 he followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a bugler in the Royal Engineers. Three years later he transferred to the fledgling Royal Flying Corps, later to become the Royal Air Force, as a mechanic and went on to become one of its top pilots.
James was born on 28th March 1895, and died on 9th July 1918 in a plane crash on his way to France to take up a new command. He was 23 and had already became one of Britain’s most highly decorated airmen after downing 57 enemy planes. His Victoria Cross, awarded ‘For most conspicuous bravery, exceptional perseverance, keenness, and very high devotion to duty’ was the very first VC awarded to a member of the newly created (on 1st April 1918) Royal Air Force.
The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Mr Richard Oldfield DL, represented the Lord-Lieutenant at Cranbrook School’s fifth centenary celebrations on 22nd March 2018, when a unique Founders’ Day service was held at St. Dunstan’s Church. Held in honour of founder John Blubery and other benefactors, including Queen Elizabeth I, the service was also attended by the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Julia Soyke, and led by the Bishop of Dover, Trevor Wilmott, deputy to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The audience, consisting of all current students, staff, Governors and Trustees, in addition to former Headteachers and senior staff, was treated to an abundance of excellent music – choral, orchestral and ensemble – interspersed with readings by leaders of the school and the parish church.
Chairman of Governors James Peace commented afterwards, “We have all been treated to a wonderful display of what makes this school and this community great. Our students have sung superbly and played their musical instruments to perfection. This day is sure to go down as one of the highlights of an historic year for the school. To have involved our new 2017 intake in the telling of a story which goes back to Henry VIII is a remarkable achievement. There are very few schools which are older than Cranbrook and even fewer which still function on the same site, fulfilling their original purpose in the way that we do. This is what makes town and gown in Cranbrook such a special feature. We are all very proud – here’s to the next five hundred years!”
The Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle MBE, celebrated HM The Queen’s ‘steadfast commitment’ to the Commonwealth and its 53 Sovereign States at the annual Civic Service held in Canterbury Cathedral on 20th March. Statistically, half the population of Kent and Medway have ties to one or more Commonwealth countries. The Lord-Lieutenant revealed this little-known fact at the Service.
Speaking to a packed congregation of people from Kent and Medway who give valued and dedicated public and voluntary service, he paid tribute to this institution of 53 sovereign states.
“It is very largely due to Her Majesty the Queen’s steadfast commitment that this extraordinary and diverse group of nations continues to co-operate to their mutual benefit at many levels, forming strong bonds.”
As Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen is the symbol of this free and oldest political association. Throughout her long reign, she has “championed it as an organisation and nurtured its leaders, privately giving wise advice.”
Lord De L’Isle added: “As Britain leaves the European Union, and transatlantic relationships are a little uncertain, we should all give our thanks to The Queen for her assiduous attention to the Commonwealth family.”
Representatives of Commonwealth countries – Australia, Canada, Nigeria, Singapore and South Africa – read extracts from the Commonwealth Charter during the service.
No single government in the Commonwealth exercises power over the others. It is an organisation in which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status, regardless of size or wealth.
They share common values and goals such as the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this year – coinciding with the Queen’s 92nd birthday on April 21 – will probably be the last that she attends due to her wise decision not to undertake any more long-haul journeys.
Lord De L’Isle concluded: “There can be no other person who has devoted more time and energy to The Commonwealth since 1949 than Her Majesty. It is almost entirely down to her steadfast faith and tireless work that this voluntary alliance has had ties and associations grow and strengthen over time.
“It is certain in the years to come, we will heartily endorse this by singing ever louder: “With heart and soul and voice, God Save The Queen.”
It has become a well-established tradition for Councillor Patricia Rolfe, currently the Deputy Mayor of New Romney, to host an annual charity dinner for International Women’s Day.
This year’s dinner, held at the Littlestone Golf Club, was extremely well supported by local women of all ages and from all walks of life, and the Lord-Lieutenant’s female representative on this occasion was Mrs Ros McCarthy DL. The Guest of Honour was Lady Sandra Howard, who gave an inspiring after-dinner speech describing the late flowering of her very successful writing career.
It was a most interesting and relaxed event, much enjoyed by everyone, and giving all the ladies present an opportunity to socialise and network with friends old and new.
The Princess Royal was greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant when visiting the County on 1st December and was escorted to the following destinations –
The Princess Royal opened the new £10million Goatham packhouse and coldstore. Named the Arthur Goatham building after company founder and father of Clive Goatham , the packhouse is located at Flanders Farm, Hoo. The Princess was met by the senior management team of AC Goatham, where she was given a tour around the new state-of-the art facility. She also met members of staff, local dignitaries and unveiled a plaque. Arthur Goatham set up the business with his wife Phyllis in 1947 and they began as agricultural contractors and together with their son Clive, purchased their first farm, Street Farm in Hoo in the 1980s. Since then they have expanded their fruit growing business across 27 farms in Medway and Kent, growing some 200 million apples and 50 million pears each year which are sold in supermarkets across the UK.
The Princess Royal officially opened the Copper Rivet Distillery which is based in Pump No.5 at Chatham Dockyard. The family-run company produce Dockyard Gin, Vela Vodka and Son of a Gun – an unaged grain spirit with a whisky flavour profile, which has been designed especially for use in cocktails – with Masthouse Whisky due to be ready in 2020. HRH enjoyed a tour of the premises and a tasting. Matthew Russell, co-founder of the distillery, said: “It’s a really exciting day. It’s a true honour to have her come so we’re very excited.” Princess Anne unveiled a plaque to officially open the business and was presented flowers by some of the employees’ children.
The Lord Lieutenant and Viscountess De L’Isle attended the Westcliff Conservation & Community Association plaque unveiling ceremony at Royal Esplanade, Ramsgate on 24th November. The original plaque, unveiled in 1926 by the then Prince of Wales, later Duke of Windsor, was stolen in 2015 and this new plaque, unveiled by the Lord-Lieutenant, forms its replacement, being 91 years to the day of the first ceremony. The original plaque was laid to commemorate the regeneration of the Westcliff by the Borough of Ramsgate. The new plaque celebrates the continued efforts of of volunteers from the Westcliff Conservation and Community Association who help to maintain this characterful part of Ramsgate which includes maintaining the Rose Garden, the Shelters and litter picking. Before the unveiling ceremony a short prayer was said by the Reverend Councillor Stuart Piper.
In his speech the Lord-Lieutenant said:
” I congratulate all those on the Westcliff Conservation and Community Association who together with Thanet District Council have worked tirelessly since the bronze plaque was stolen in 2015 to produce and fix the facsimile plaque, carved in stone.
Kent is a county full of volunteers performing a wide variety of tasks, which would go undone without your invaluable support and dedication. In this case you are maintaining a wonderful rose garden overlooking the Royal Harbour and out to sea which adds to the quality of all our lives. Thank you very much for all you have done in the past 91 years and for what I know you will continue to do in the future to enhance and maintain the historical significance of Ramsgate and the Royal Harbour.”
Square Pegs, a youth arts organisation for people with special needs aged 7-25 exists for young people who don’t fit in with mainstream activities because of learning or communication difficulties. The group which started 12 years ago, were very proud to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in November, the only organisation in the county in 2017 to be presented with the accolade. Beth James, Square Pegs Director, received the award from the Vice-Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Richard Oldfield, at a special ceremony to celebrate the occasion.
The organisation holds five weekly drama clubs and monthly singing and film club sessions in Chatham, Maidstone and Canterbury for around 70 young people a week. The next planned progression is for Square Pegs to create a professional theatre company to build on the high standard it has achieved to date. The organisation has also applied for charity status and if successful, it will create more opportinites for funding.
The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, Mr Richard Oldfield DL, representing the Lord-Lieutenant, addressed the audience at the Royal British Legion’s 70th Festival of Remembrance held at the Winter Gardens, Margate, on 3rd November.
The Royal British Legion is recognised as the national custodian of Remembrance and led the Festival of Remembrance with the Band of the Corps of The Royal Engineers and the Parade of Service Representatives and Standards. The Festival was an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by Service men and women and to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom this country enjoys today.
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