On the 18th July, the Master accompanied by the Master’s Consort Donna, Liveryman Ray Reid and Liveryman Phil Webb, our Cadet Liaison Officer, visited 56 Squadron Air Cadets at their training centre in Woolwich. They had been forewarned that participation in the evenings training was expected and to come dressed accordingly. We gathered inside while the training groups of cadets assembled and set up the various stands for our “Round Robin” circuit. We were joined by the Hon Mayor of Greenwich (his annual visit) and others local visitors for the evening. It worked out as two teams of four, Lightmonger’s versus the Borough of Greenwich.

First, we walked across to the field opposite to the temporary archery range to be given a safety brief followed by instructions of how to stand, slot an arrow, aim, draw and fire several arrows at the target. Two of us against two of them going head 2 head. It has to be said that the Master (Robin of Loxley) was outshot by Donna (aka Lady Marion)!

From there back into the compound where the teams split to the different stands. We moved to the small woody space to test our powers of observation, trying to spot how many clues of “enemy activity” were evident in a small area. I think we managed 9 out of 11, the other two were very well hidden in the undergrowth!

Inside we all crowded into a cupboard, also known as the drumming room, where we were given a demonstration on rhythm and drumbeats before Donna, Ray and Jamie tried their hand under the watchful eye of the cadets. Next came first aid where the Master used his First Aid at work skills to bandage a cadet with an arm injury while we looked on wondering if the patient would survive!

Into the Drill Hall to join the recruits on parade, and trying not to be noticed as a bit slow at our right and left turns alongside the recruits. Not sure we all got away with that! I think we achieved a better result on the flight simulator where Ray took the controls to fly over a familiar part of the English countryside and landed safely.

Back outside to don camouflage jackets and hats and practice our bushcraft, the Master and Consort looking very fetching in matching jackets and forage caps. Our task to build a basher between the trees against the clock as the light faded, done in just over two minutes. A bit out of practice but not too shoddy!

The final parade took place on the forecourt outside, where the Hon. Mayor of Greenwich presented a number of promotions and achievement awards to the cadets.

The Master thanked Sqn Ldr Mark Bird, Honorary Liveryman and 56 Squadron Officer Commanding for a wonderful evening. He then presented a cheque for the Squadron from the Lightmonger’s Charitable Trust. The cheque included our annual donation to the squadron and in addition a donation from funds raised by Phill Hyde’s family in his memory. Those funds raised were shared equally between our two affiliated Cadet Units and our two affiliated Schools, all of which Phill was a strong supporter of.

We had a wonderful evening and our thanks to Mark, his staff and all the cadets who made it such fun.

Phil Webb, Lightmongers Cadet Liaison Officer.