The Cornwall Army Cadets detachment on the Isles of Scilly has been saved from closure after the widow of its former commander agreed to step into the breach.
Julie Smith was Staff Sergeant Instructor on St Mary’s, working with her husband, Captain Tony Smith, until his death in 2015.
More recently, responsibility for leading the two dozen cadets aged 12 to 17 has fallen to just one uniformed instructor. But growing work and family commitments made it increasingly difficult for him to carry on.
Without several suitably qualified and committed adults to lead the cadets, there appeared to be no future for the detachment.
But Major David Holman, who oversees all training for Cornwall ACF, approached Mrs Smith to see if she might be interested in taking over as detachment commander.
“I had no hesitation in taking on the role,” she said. “My husband would have been very proud. I did need some time to sort out my life after his death but I’m very happy to become involved again.
“I’m looking forward to getting back into uniform and to helping our Cadets develop and fulfil their potential. I will need more help but I’m sure there are people here on the islands who will step forward. The ACF is a wonderful organisation.”
Other adults have already volunteered their time to ensure the 20-strong detachment can continue to train youngsters in fieldcraft, first aid, air-rifle shooting, drill, skill-at-arms, ‘cadet and the community’ activities and physical education.
A special requirement for the Scilly cadets is for adult volunteers to accompany them on the Scillonian ferry and flights to and from training activities on the mainland.
Four cadets, all 13 years old, have only just returned from a camp at Okehampton on Dartmoor – Jacob Kendrick, Ashley Horton, Fraser Clark and Piran Julian.
It was the first ACF camp for Ashley and Piran, who is the only one of the four to live on an off-island, St Martin’s.
“I really like the outdoors stuff,” said Piran, whose family run one of the biggest flower-growing businesses on the Isles of Scilly. “And Cadets also teaches us discipline, through drill and turn-out, and respect as well.”
For more information about volunteering with Cornwall Army Cadets – on the Isles of Scilly or anywhere else in the county – call 0120873183 or email