Pride in cadet forces movement

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Last Sunday I headed over to York with the Deputy Mayor, Coun Harry Chapman to attend the annual North and West Yorkshire Army Cadet force presentation day at The Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

I also went last year and enjoyed the experience so much that I wanted to go again.

Mayors and senior politicians are invited from across the region and I can tell you that there was a serious amount of bling on display!

I have decided that the collective noun for that many Mayors should be a chain gang!

We don’t have an army cadet force in Wetherby although there are young people in our area that attend other barracks.

We do have an Air Cadet force that I have been fortunate enough to visit and work with on a number of occasions.

In both cases, they do a terrific job with young people from all walks of life and they have a particular focus on working with young people from some of the most challenging backgrounds.

They also have a phenomenal record of success as 84 per cent of those that have previously been involved with the police and criminal justice system have not reoffended since being enrolled on the cadet force outreach programme.

There were a number of presentations from the young cadets about the sort of things they do, from field craft to first aid and from weapons to communications.

The cadets are taught a wide variety of transferable life skills that sadly, many young people leave school without.

I think there’s a bit of a misconception that this sort of thing is for posh rich kids but nothing could be further from the truth.

These young men and women came from far and wide and were a very diverse bunch.

All of them had a number of things in common.

They were confident, had good self-discipline, were motivated and could interact well with each other and all these strange folk with their procession of chains.

I don’t doubt that the cadet experience will stand all these young people in good stead for the rest of their lives.

I came away thinking it would be a huge benefit to all young people if they went through some of these programmes.

Tuesday saw the monthly meeting of the Town Council which, as ever, saw a whole variety of issues raised.

We always meet on the second Tuesday of each month, currently in the Methodist church on Bank Street.

There is an opportunity for residents to raise issues of concern at 7pm before the formal meeting begins at 7.10pm.

Last week I wrote about the invasion of travellers onto Mason’s Field.

I spent much of the previous week working with our town council staff, the police and a number of other agencies such as environmental services to try to ensure that the travellers were moved on as quickly possible.

When they eventually left, the state they left the park in was truly disgusting.

Litter was strewn everywhere and huge amounts of human excrement had been deposited on the site and in the adjacent cemetery.

There are no words that I can insert into this column that can properly express the anger I feel that these people can just turn up, disrupt a community, leave literally all their waste behind and expect everybody else to put up with them and pick up the bill.

It’s almost certainly a futile gesture but I tried to ensure that fixed penalty notices were served on as many of the perpetrators as possible.

As ever though, the Wetherby community pulled together and worked to ensure the area was cleaned up as quickly as possible.

Huge thanks must go to the police, the town council staff and the environmental services team for pulling out all the stops to resolve the situation.

Readers also won’t be surprised to learn that a number of volunteers turned out of their own volition to help with the tidying up.

On Monday evening I attended the regular meeting of Wetherby Twinning Association and on Tuesday night I attended the #Wetherbyhour live event at The Muse.

I’ll be explaining all about that next week and I promise that my spelling hasn’t gone awry!

On Tuesday I was due to meet senior managers from Morrison’s to express many of the frustrations people have with the Wetherby store and urge them to get their acts together.

I’ll also report back on that next week.

All in all, it’s been another busy week, frustrating at times but hugely enjoyable at others.