874 Squadron currently has around 20 cadets drawn from Sherborne and nearby villages and towns.
Given all our activities, we have a frequent need for transporting cadets and massive amounts of equipment! So, we needed the minibus to enable us to do this much more efficiently and, most importantly, as a cohesive unit with team spirit.
In January 2012, we secured a grant of £10,000 from the National Lottery “Awards for All” fund to be put towards the purchase of a new vehicle, and we worked hard to match and exceed this amount by further fundraising throughout 2012.
The cadets were very much involved in their own fundraising. We have provided car park marshalling, rebuilt show jumping fences, promoted the “Sincerely ABBA” concert at the Digby Hall last April, manned water stations at various marathons and cycle races and packed bags in supermarkets, all throughout the Sherborne area.
The minibus will now be used to transport the Air Cadets to participate in more outdoor activities, including Duke of Edinburgh’s Award challenges, the Ten Tors event on Dartmoor, camping, craftsmanship, gliding, orienteering, first aid training, etc.
Who we are
The Air Cadets or Air Training Corps is a national youth organisation, run under the auspices of the Royal Air Force by volunteer adult staff. We have young people of both sexes between the ages of 13 and 20 and aim to provide them with a range of activities and experiences including flying (powered and gliders) and adventurous activities such as hill walking and kayaking.
Sherborne 874 Squadron ATC cadets participate in numerous outdoor activities, including Duke of Edinburgh’s Award challenges, the Ten Tors event on Dartmoor, camping, craftsmanship, gliding, orienteering, first aid training, etc.
Why we needed the minibus
Our main objective is to ensure that our young people become good citizens. We encourage them to act as team members, to work closely with their peers and to become self-aware. Camps and physical challenges significantly increase their degree of personal responsibility, comradeship, mutual support and physical health. All of this contributes to their well-rounded personalities will give them a good start in their future personal relationships and careers. We intend to open their eyes to more opportunities and chances in life, and encourage them to take an active role in shaping their own futures. We are aligned with similar objectives of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, and several of our cadets participate in this scheme.
More opportunities to participate in a greater number of activities will increase the chances of achieving these objectives.
All of the activities depend on transportation. We make the most of the facilities at our disposal, and the willingness of parents to provide assistance to our cadets whenever possible. However, when longer distances were involved, this became problematic, and the lack of appropriate transportation restricted the amount of team-working which could be achieved. It also restricted the range of activities (flying, climbing, kayaking, etc), and the number of weekends they were able to spend away.
We wanted to own our own minibus to enable us to participate in significantly more activities, and to help us to maintain our group identity and esprit de corps.
The cadets are very visible in the local community in their smart uniforms, especially at the St Georges Day and Armistice Day parades which conclude at Sherborne Abbey. We feel that their participation contributes significantly to the local character, engenders pride, and strengthens a positive self-image in our community.
Having our own transportation will now enable the cadets to think and act as a group during their travel to events, as well as saving time, effort, complexity in travel coordination and fuel costs
What we did ourselves
The cadets were very much involved in their own fundraising. We provided car park marshalling, rebuilt show jumping fences, promoted the Sincerely ABBA concert at the Digby Hall last April, swam in Swimarathons, manned food and water stations at various marathons and cycle races and packed bags in supermarkets, all throughout the Sherborne area.
We are grateful to the following organisations which provided opportunities for us to help ourselves
- Sherborne Lions (Swimarathon)
- Gartell Railway (car park marshalling)
- Sturminster Newton Marathon (manning food and water stations for road race)
- Blandford Forum Georgian Fayre (manpower to help with various chores)
- Blackmore Vale Lions (Swimarathon)
- Dorset Community Foundation and Localgiving.com (help with maximising the funds raised)
- Pendragon Sports (manning food and water stations for cycle race)
- Gillingham Rugby Club (car park marshalling at firework display)
- Sainsbury’s supermarket (bag-packing)
- Sherborne Tourist Information Centre (ticket sales for Sincerely ABBA concert)
Organisations which provided the Donations and Grants (in order of magnitude)
- National Lottery, Big Lottery Fund
- RAF Charitable Trust
- Dorset Youth Partnership
- Agusta Westland Helicopters
- Blackmore Vale Lions
- Sherborne Town Council
- Simon Digby Charitable Trust, Sherborne
- Aviation Training, Sherborne
- Hunts Food Service, Sherborne
- Charterhouse Auctioneers, Sherborne
Here are some cadet quotes:
Cadet George Carter: “The minibus will open up a whole new world of activities, and make being a cadet more exciting”.
Cadet Nicole Piercey: “Having our own transport is going to be amazing, and will make organising trips a lot easier. It will allow cadets who have transport problems to take part more often”
Cadet Jordan Bishop: “Using fewer cars will save petrol, reduce costs and cut down on air pollution”
Cadet Sergeant Bradley Harris: “The minibus will make us feel proud, as we will be able to advertise who we are. It will give us better interaction as a group as we travel to events together”
Adrian Harding, Honorary Treasurer of the Sherborne ATC: “The support we received from the Sherborne Town Council, the Simon Digby Charitable Trust and local charities and businesses was invaluable. Without their financial assistance, their contacts and their sound advice, this major acquisition would not have been possible. The cadets and the adult staff of 874 Squadron will be eternally grateful to all of our supporters who helped to make this happen”
If you wish to join the air cadets, please contact: Officer Commanding, Rob Wood on 07712697139