Town’s army cadet detachment at risk of closure

Comm Sgt Allison Kennedy is trying to rejuvenate Mirfield Army Cadet Force
Comm Sgt Allison Kennedy is trying to rejuvenate Mirfield Army Cadet Force

Mirfield’s army cadet detachment is at risk of closure if it does not recruit more young people soon.

Just five years ago the Mirfield Army Cadet Force had around 40 cadets, but now the figure is down to just a handful.

Lieutenant John Craig, county public relations officer for Yorkshire (North and West) Army Cadet Force, said: “In recent times the numbers of young people attending the Detachment have declined to such an extent that unless the trend is reversed then Mirfield may soon lose its Army Cadet Detachment for good - and if it does, then the loss would be irreversible.

“The current number of cadets can be counted on the fingers of one hand.”

In order the try to get numbers back up, new detachment Commander Sergeant Allison Kennedy has reached out to Mirfield Free Grammar School and Castle Hall Academy to raise awareness of the group to the schools’ students.

Comm Sgt Kennedy said: “The Army Cadet Force really does offer a unique package of skills, experiences, fun and friendship as well as actual recognised qualifications such as BTEC and Duke of Edinburgh.

“I really do believe that the young people of Mirfield can’t afford to lose this opportunity and that’s the reason why I am passionate about getting this message across.

“I truly feel that we can work together in producing young people who will excel in all that they do and who will be the future pillars of society here in Mirfield.”

The detachment has also been offered support by local councillors and the Mirfield branch of the Royal British Legion.

Lieut Craig, who lives in the town and began his career at Mirfield ACF, added: “I have a vested interest in supporting Mirfield as I can remember the good times when we regularly paraded 40 plus cadets every night and the whole place was buzzing.

“I have personally vowed, along with my wife Beverly who herself is ex-ACF and my daughters Ashleigh and Lydia both ex-Mirfield cadets, to help bring the good times back. Where I feel we have failed the good people of Mirfield in recent years is that we have not engaged enough with them and kept ourselves in the forefront where local events are concerned and that is the first thing we will address.”

Mirfield Army Cadet Force is open to 13 to 18 year-olds. If you are interested in joining or can help the detachment email Lieut Craig on army.cadets@hotmail.co.uk. They meet on Mondays and Thursdays at Crowther Road.