The Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales welcomed more than 130 guests to its Annual Briefing.
Yesterday’s event took place at the St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay and marked RFCA for Wales’ 110th anniversary.
The diverse audience included; members of the Armed Forces community, partner organisations, small and large-scale employers, educationalists and other key stakeholders.
“I am delighted to see so many here today,” said Mr Byron Lewis KStJ FCA, HM Lord-Lieutenant of West Glamorgan and President of RFCA for Wales.
“RFCA for Wales continues to provide and maintain the link between the military and civil communities in Wales. We are one of the vital pieces of the jigsaw in conveying Defence messages to the general public.”
Senior leadership gave an update of the past year and reflected on the secretariat’s achievements. They detailed the outputs of RFCA for Wales’ three key pillars; Estates, Youth and Cadets, and Engagement.
Captain Brian Thorne RD DL RNR, Chairman of RFCA for Wales, said: “I am proud to provide an overview of the last year and tell you about our excellent reserves and cadets in Wales and highlight some of the successes that we as an Association have enjoyed in support of them.”
Colonel Nick Beard TD DL, Chief Executive of RFCA for Wales, updated the audience on several specific areas, including; Project Cardiff – the Royal Navy’s new building in the heart of Cardiff Bay, the expansion of the Alternative Venues initiative to make use of the spare capacity of the estate and the increased number of Employer Recognition Scheme award winners.
The key note speaker for the event was Brigadier Alan Richmond OBE. As the Commander of 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales, Brigadier Richmond is, de facto, the Army’s senior serving representative in Wales.
Staff Sergeant James Bell from 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital delivered a presentation about Exercise Dragon Corsica – a 23 day expedition that covered 180 kilometers and ascended 10,000 metres. The unique training experience was part-funded by the Welsh Reserves’ and Cadets’ Fund, which supports reservists and cadets with opportunities to enhance their everyday lives.
Mrs Judith Rees, Assistant Headteacher at Fitzalan High School, explained their decision to join the Cadet Expansion Programme and open a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) unit. Pupils from the school described their motivations for joining and the positive benefits the cadet experience has given them as they are about to embark on further education and employment opportunities.
Former Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major Bradley Cartwright highlighted his experience with A Company, Dyfed and Glamorgan Army Cadet Force (ACF). The 18-year-old recently met the upper age limit and called time on a successful cadet career. He reflected on the skills he has gained through more than 80 activities, including the historic Lord Dannatt Round Britain Challenge.