George Timms has enjoyed many highlights since joining 2182 (Dorchester) Squadron of the Air Training Corps five years ago.
They have included flying on a new RAF Voyager transport aircraft as part of the Queen’s birthday flypast at the Trooping of the Colour in 2013.
Now he is one of the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset’s Cadets, assisting Her Majesty’s representative in the county, Angus Campbell, on official engagements.
Most recently, George was ‘on duty’ when the Lord Lieutenant welcomed HRH the Princess Royal to Dorset.
The 17-year-old Flight Sergeant from Winterbourne Abbas, an A-level student at the Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester, joined the Cadets in 2011. “Actually, it was at the suggestion of my parents, but I soon got hooked and developed from there, making a lot of new friends,” he says.
George is a keen flyer – on powered aircraft as well as gliders – and he has gained numerous qualifications in marksmanship and first aid as well as becoming a drill instructor. At his second cadet camp at RAF Valley, Anglesey, he led his flight to victory in the inter-flight competition and was named the best non-commissioned officer.
“Being a Cadet has helped me develop a great deal,” he adds. “The ATC principles of discipline and commitment are really valuable and very different to school. As young adults we are given quite a lot of responsibility and that makes it special.”
For as long as he can recall, 16-year-old Leading Cadet Fletcher Heap, of Poole, always had an ambition to join the Royal Navy. That’s something very much in his sights now after moving as a boarder to Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College in Leicestershire.
As a Ministry of Defence-funded school it helps prepare youngsters for careers in the Armed Forces.
Fletcher was just 10 when he joined TS Drax, the Poole Sea Cadets unit. Even at that age, he recognised that the experience gained would be useful preparation for the long-term future. “I’ve got so much out of it that I struggle to remember it all,” he says.
“There have been qualifications – in sailing, seamanship, kayaking and first aid – as well as developing important leadership skills. But the Sea Cadets also opens up so many different opportunities. For example, I was squad commander of my drill team in the national cadets competition, played in the Sea Cadets massed band in the Trafalgar Parade in London and rowed a yole in the national Sea Cadets regatta.”
Owing to his studies at Welbeck, Fletcher has not so far performed any duties as a Dorset Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet, but is keen to be involved during vacations.
From Welbeck, he hopes to move on to university and, finally, join the Royal Navy as a Commissioned Officer. He added: “My experiences in the Cadets made me feel even more strongly that I wanted a Navy career and that the goal was attainable.”
A career in nursing beckons for Sergeant Eleanor Howell, aged 18, of Dorset Army Cadet Force’s Gillingham Detachment, once she completes her special year as a Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet.
She joined the ACF in 2011. “We had a presentation at school about the Cadets and it seemed right for me because I was interested in the military and liked the variety of outdoor activities,” she said. “It’s been great – with a fieldcraft week with 6 Rifles as a real highlight.”
Eleanor attends Gillingham School. She has represented the ACF in county and regional athletics competitions and is a keen member of Frome Kayaking Club.