Army cadets from Fenland receive special visit during annual county training camp

PUBLISHED: 10:53 05 August 2019

Sgt Johnson Beharry VC COG paid a special visit to West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford to meet members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, including those from Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey who were a part of the eight-day annual event. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

Sgt Johnson Beharry VC COG paid a special visit to West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford to meet members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, including those from Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey who were a part of the eight-day annual event. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

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Army cadets from Fenland had a surprise visitor drop into see them at an annual training camp last week.

Sgt Johnson Beharry VC COG paid a special visit to West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford to meet members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, including those from Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey who were a part of the eight-day annual event. Picture: MARK KNIGHTSgt Johnson Beharry VC COG paid a special visit to West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford to meet members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, including those from Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey who were a part of the eight-day annual event. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

Members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, including representation from Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey, welcomed Sgt Johnson Beharry VC COG to West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford during the eight-day experience.

Sgt Beharry addressed three groups of 80 cadets, as well as joining one group in the field as they underwent training.

Each presentation saw Sgt Beharry give an inspirational account of his life from being a small child in Grenada to the present day.

Cadets listened to how Sgt Beharry struggled during childhood and the steps he took to change his life to avoid "getting into trouble" by joining the British Army.

Richard Barnwell, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, attended the training camp and presented Sgt Keira-Narice Liddington, from the Chatteris Detachment, with a Letter of Commendation from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire for her actions in assisting casualties at the scene of a road traffic accident near March where both cars caught fire. Picture: MARK KNIGHTRichard Barnwell, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, attended the training camp and presented Sgt Keira-Narice Liddington, from the Chatteris Detachment, with a Letter of Commendation from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire for her actions in assisting casualties at the scene of a road traffic accident near March where both cars caught fire. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

Sgt Beharry was awarded with the Victoria Cross in 2005 for bravery after saving 30 members of his unit in Iraq, as he also talked about his medical condition, including a period on life support and his road to recovery.

Cadets then had the chance to ask questions and learn more about the JBVC Foundation, set up by Sgt Beharry to steer people towards a better life.

During the camp, which lasted between July 27 and August 3, a record number of cadets were put through their paces at the annual event by taking on numerous challenges.

Members showcased what they had learned during Detachment training in activities such as shooting range work, canoeing, clay pigeon shooting, archery and a mobile climbing tower, plus drill and marching.

Members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, including those from Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey, during a marching exercise at the West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford. Picture: MARK KNIGHTMembers of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, including those from Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey, during a marching exercise at the West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

The 350-strong force were greeted by other visitors, including Richard Barnwell, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire; Cllr Michael Hill, mayor of Wisbech; members of the Cambridgeshire 876 Remembered Project and Ray Bisby, deputy police and crime commissioner.

Colonel Mark Knight MBE DL, Commandant for the force, said: "It was a cracking eight days for the cadets.

"They worked hard, played hard and I am sure enjoying a rest once back home.

"Being away from home without the access to Playstations, phones and undertaking our training builds confidence and making new friends."

Mayor of Whittlesey, Cllr Julie Windle, also attended the West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford as she met members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadets Force. Picture: MARK KNIGHTMayor of Whittlesey, Cllr Julie Windle, also attended the West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford as she met members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadets Force. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

Speaking on Sgt Beharry's visit, Col Knight added: "The cadets were buzzing, especially after presenting Sgt Beharry with a birthday cake for which he proudly cut into small pieces to enjoy with the cadets.

"However, I am not too sure that the chorus of happy birthday was that well in tune!"

Members of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force used 125cc-powered motorcycles as part of the number of challenges they took on whilst at the training camp. Picture: MARK KNIGHTMembers of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force used 125cc-powered motorcycles as part of the number of challenges they took on whilst at the training camp. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

Cadets also took part in a shooting exercise, including range work and clay pigeon shooting, whilst at the West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford. Picture: MARK KNIGHTCadets also took part in a shooting exercise, including range work and clay pigeon shooting, whilst at the West Tofts Training Camp near Thetford. Picture: MARK KNIGHT

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