A NEW joint cadet centre for the Army Cadet Force and Air Cadet Corps was opened in Brechin on Thursday by the Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Georgiana Osborne.
The centre more than doubles the capacity of the old building on which the site is based. Over fifty cadets use it every week.
It was built by Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, a crown agency that supports the reserves and cadets in the North of Scotland.
Colonel A. K. Miller, the chief executive of Highland RFCA, said: “It is a priority for us that the cadets are warm and safe in their buildings.
“The building is a large financial commitment for us but it is one that we are happy to make.”
And once it had been built, they decided to name it after Andrew Crowe, the popular Brechin army cadet who died tragically of a brain haemorrhage in 2010.
He wore his Army Cadet uniform for his journey to his final resting place, along with a marine beret given to his family by 45 Commando.
Colonel Drew Cassidy is the Commandant of the Angus and Dundee battalion of the Army Cadet Force, aded: “Andrew was a keen army cadet and he was very popular and well respected throughout the Army Cadet Force in Angus.
“His enthusiasm was infectious and he was on track to achieve his goal of becoming a marine. He was always a good role model for other cadets and so we decided to name the centre after him.”
The building itself is much larger and better equipped than the old huts.
There are a series of classrooms, where cadets can learn everything from section drills to navigation.
There is a parade hall and a canteen, and has been designed to be ergonomically efficient.
The cadets love their new home. Corporal Aaron Greig is 15 and goes to Brechin High School. He’s been a cadet for three years.
“The old building was all right, but it was really cramped in there,” he commented.
“We’ve a lot more room here, its very nice and cosy. Sometimes in winter it was just too cold and we had to close.
“Because we’ve got more rooms to work with we can be doing weapons handling in one; section battle drills in another.”
Corporal Greig was recently promoted and is enjoying his new role as a non commissioned officer.
“Getting to be a corporal, and having some responsibility is really satisfying.
“I love having a chance to younger cadets. Being a cadet has taught me organisational skills like leadership and working under pressure and I hope, good communication.”
Cadet Liam Swanson is a new cadet. He is 13 and goes to Brechin High School.
“I want to be a marine when I am older, and so I was interested in doing army type activities,” he said.
“I love being outdoors with the cadets and learning things like concealing myself from the enemy. Although I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, already I’ve had a weekend away at Barry where we learned field craft.
“Being a cadet has taught me that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. In a team you have to respect that everyone has needs and the team has to work round them.”
Sergeant Major Darren Scott (17) from Letham is at Angus College. He is currently the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet.
“The new building is very modern and up to date,” he said. “The classrooms are brighter and is a great place when you are teaching the cadets.
“It really makes a difference with the new classrooms because you aren’t disturbed when you are teaching a class.”
Fifteen-year-old Robert Williams is currently at Brechin High School. He has been an Air Cadet for two years.
“I love flying and have been in a light aircraft more than three times,” he commented. “My personal favourite is when you get to loop the loop and do other aerobatics.”
He really loves the new building.
“It means that we don’t all have to crowd into the drill hall when we are studying for our BTEC in public service.
“We can go into the classrooms and do our work whilst others are in the drill hall doing fieldcraft or learning other skills. The old building was colder and the new one is a considerable improvement.”
For Kirsty Brown (13), who is also at Brechin High, she has been enjoying learning radio communications in the new centre.
She said: “The new centre is brilliant. We have the classrooms with brand new furniture and we can learn loads of different things. I’ve been studying radio communications in addition to other parts of the cadet syllabus.”
After Mrs Osborne opened it, guests including MP Mike Weir, MSP Nigel Don and Councillors Ruth Leslie Melville, Peter Nield and Bob Myles mingled with the cadets and their families as they were shown the various activities that the cadets can do.
They were also treated to a tour round a Harrier cockpit, delivered to the Air Training Corps for the occasion.