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Youngsters star in London pageantry

IT IS all a matter of your point of view. For the bands and marchers – cadets and staff – who attended the Cadet 150 Royal Review, seeing the famous landmarks of London and being at the heart of a piece of pageantry

was truly memorable. AC Amanda Santry’s point of

● The Red Arrows soar above the cadets’ parade on the Mall Picture: Sgt Andy Malthouse (RAF)

view was pretty restricted – but the 15-year-old Torfaen cadet would not have swapped it for the world as she led the whole parade along the Mall, her eyes fixed ahead on Buckingham Palace. On the other hand, the point of view for Paul Huggett and Izzy Fletcher was stunning, though their participation lasted just a few seconds as they roared across the capital in the Hawks of the Red Arrows. Let’s start with the London

dimension. To many it is a familiar city, but

there were some who gathered on a sultry Tuesday morning in early July who had never been before. To visit in such style is typical of the opportunities afforded by the Sea Cadet Corps and its sister organisations,

Force, the Air Training Corps and the Combined Cadet Force. Youngsters from 76 Corps units and districts were represented (see opposite page), gathering on the grass verges of Horse Guards Road to make final preparations for the parade. The instruments for the Corps

the Army Cadet ● Sea Cadets prepare for the parade along the Mall

– SCC, CCF, AFC, ATC and a combined AFC/ATC pipe band – tuned up as laggards were chivvied into place and items retrieved from coaches (or not in at least one case – “anyone got a spare hair-net?”) Blocks of colour solidified – the dark blue of the Sea Cadets, the lighter blue of the air cadets, the rainbow of uniforms of the Army band.

band were laid out in neat rows, the 70-plus musicians and many more marchers stretching their legs and making last-minute adjustments to their uniforms. Clouds rolled in to provide respite from the sun’s rays, though it remained muggy as the participants began to take their places on the dusty parade ground, watched by their own drill instructors and a couple of ever-alert Guards warrant officers in red tunics and bearskins. The members of the five bands

Picture: PO(Phot) Amanda Reynolds

bugle – and hope that the days of training would pay dividends on this most public of stages. “I am really excited and nervous

as well,” said Amanda as the clock ticked down.

“I am really looking forward

to this. “We have been practising in

Portsmouth over the weekend and had another day’s training and a final practice – it’s a really good band, and we have had Royal Marines training us as well.” Then at 1.45pm, with the

Torfaen unit mace gripped firmly in her white gauntlets, Amanda set the parade in motion, wheeling right on to Horse Guards Road then left on to the Mall, which was lined with thousands of spectators, well-wishers and families – including Amanda’s parents and brother.

● POC Paul Huggett with Flt Lt Zane Sennett, the pilot of Red 5 Picture: SAC Rob Travis (RAF)

As the moment to step off approached, the most important cadet on the parade ground was checking around her and preparing to get the show on the road. As Drum Major for the Sea Cadet band, Amanda Santry had the prime position but a lousy view – at no point could she cast a backward glance at more than 1,500 co-marchers to ensure things were going according to plan.

Of course, the band, taking

their rightful place at the head of the parade by dint of their status as the Senior Service, led by example.

At Clarence House the Prince of

Wales, in his Naval uniform, took the salute alongside Vice Admiral Sir Tom Blackburn,


She just had to trust the rest of the team – including three colleagues from TS Kittiwake on bass drum, cymbals and drum/

of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets, Cdre Robert Mansergh, head of Reserve Forces and Cadets, and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Andrew Robathan. Eyes turned briefly to the skies (parade members aside, of course)

as the Red Arrows, each carrying a cadet in the rear seat, blasted their way west across London before returning to their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. And although there was the odd

drawback, mainly associated with the need for sickbags, it was an experience any cadet would give their eye teeth for.

“Flying with the Red Arrows

was a fantastic experience,” said POC Paul Huggett, the Southern Area Navy Board cadet and a member of Hastings unit. “Despite being sick, it has

confirmed my ambition to be a fast jet pilot, though not for the RAF but for the RN. “From the ground you can see the Reds fly close together when in formation, but when you’re up there with them it looks, and is, extremely close.

“I flew in Red 5 and on landing

back at RAF Scampton we did a manoeuvre called a run and break. In this we pulled 5G...” POC Izzy Fletcher, the other

airborne Sea Cadet representative, is a member of Yeovil unit. Back on the ground, following the Sea Cadets contingent was the CCF band, led by Drum Major Fred Collins, who has just finished at Adams’ Grammar School sixth form in Shropshire. Almost 60 pupils drawn from schools across the UK have spent the past year and more training under Cdr David Oldbury, with

● POC Izzy Fletcher of the Sea Cadets being measured up for her fl ying helmet at RAF Scampton before taking to the skies with the Red Arrows

Picture: SAC Rob Travis (RAF)

● Prince Charles takes the salute as the Sea Cadet band marches past Clarence House on the Mall Picture: PO(Phot) Mez Merrill

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