Students from Longhill High School’s Combined Cadet Force have spent the last few weekends raising money for the British Legion by selling poppies at the Asda supermarket in Brighton Marina. This culminated in the Longhill cadets taking a leading role in the Remembrance Parade in Rottingdean on Sunday 12th November on a beautiful, cold and sunny autumn morning.
Longhill’s CCF cadets were wonderful ambassadors, representing the school in a very positive way to the local community. New recruit Abi told us, “I felt very proud to be part of the parade and was surprised by the number of people I saw wearing rows and rows of medals.”
Student Laith added, “The atmosphere while we took part in the parade was very moving. The community came together, with representatives from the scouts, the cubs, the police – lots of different organisations. I felt very proud to be representing Longhill to other people in our community.”
After the parade, some of the CCF cadets visited the blind veterans at nearby Ovingdean. Blind Veterans UK have several centres throughout the UK, one of which is the art deco-style, purpose-built centre which overlooks the sea at Ovingdean and is a well-known local landmark.
Longhill cadets joined the blind veterans for their annual Remembrance Day service, before meeting them more informally afterwards for refreshments and a chat. It was an ideal opportunity for our young people to meet some of the older generation and to hear first-hand about some of their experiences.
“The veterans all have stories to tell”, said student Will. “I talked to a man whose five children went into the same regiment that he was in. I found the veterans very easy to talk to, in fact they did most of the talking. I found it very moving when the veterans laid wreaths in the memorial garden they have there.”
Student Rollo, who also visited the veterans, told us, “They were so easy to talk to, they really enjoy meeting young people and all you need to do is listen to them. Their stories are very interesting. I talked to a lady whose husband was in the RAF and he flew missions to drop members of the SAS across the Russian border.”
The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) has contingents in secondary schools all over the UK, which offer young people a broad range of challenging, exciting, adventurous and educational activities. The aim of the organisation is to enable young people to develop personal responsibility, self-discipline and leadership skills.
Laith and Rollo explained, “It really pushes you out of your comfort zone, but you’re part of something, you’re with friends and you bond really quickly. We’ve grown and developed as people since we joined the CCF and you get a real sense of achievement. It leads to other things too – we’ll be starting our Duke of Edinburgh award soon.”
CCF cadets agreed that the camps during the summer and in October are one of the highlights of being part of the CCF. “Camp is so much fun,” said Abi. “I had the best week ever!” Will added, “You’re given responsibility and freedom to make decisions – I’d recommend it to everyone!”
If any Longhill students would like to come along to give it a try, please see Mr Pringle or Mr Tester. CCF runs after school every Thursday at Longhill – all students are welcome!