Magnus C of E Academy’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) welcomes Sir Andrew Pulford for ceremony

Magnus Church of England Academy welcomed Sir Andrew Pulford, to a ceremony to mark the opening of Warburton House as the home of the academy’s Combined Cadet Force.

Michelle Bradshaw is CCF Contingent Commander at Magnus, and she explained, “It was a fantastic day and made special by a visit from Sir Andrew Pulford and other guests. Sir Andrew is a former student and describes himself as an ‘Old Boy’ of Magnus. He has supported our Combined Cadet Force since we became standalone contingent.”

Michelle said Sir Andrew also presented a ceremonial sword to a cadet, “The Sir Andrew Pulford Award for Excellence is presented to the cadet who most embodies our values of HEART: Honesty, Encourage, Awesome, Respect and Team. Luke Harrison is this year’s worthy recipient, – but I must say that competition was fierce, and many of our cadets have shown outstanding commitment to our values.”

Sir Andrew inspected the contingent and also talked to the cadets about his history at Magnus, and his Royal Air Force career. He said, “Magnus is my old school and if the academy and its staff feel I can add value by my presence, and of course the prize, then I am coming back for that. I like to come back and see how they are getting on, to add my support and congratulate them for all they are doing.

“The Cadets are coming on leaps and bounds, despite the challenges of the previous years with Covid and all that that has meant.  The contingent is getting stronger, it looks smarter and is being incredibly well led, -and I think the lived experience as a cadet here, is growing from month to month.”

Sir Andrew also presented two cadets with rank promotions.  “The recipients of the awards are deserving and should understand that in any uniformed service, it’s all about mutual support, about being there for one another, and that is certainly what any military cadet force is about. Understanding teamwork, that it is not about ‘self’, it’s about the greater good of the group. They have to set a great example to each other.”

Luke Harrison age 16, was this year’s recipient of The Sir Andrew Pulford Award for Excellence. Luke was also promoted from Corporal to Sergeant by Sir Andrew alongside fellow cadet Sammi-Jo Godson, age 15.

Luke, who wants a career in the Royal Air Force said he was taken by surprise at the ceremony.  “I knew I would be given the award, but not the rank of Sergeant. I have surprised myself really! I had a lot of nerves before, but as the ceremony started, the nerves disappeared.”

Sammi-Jo Godson age 15, also received a rank promotion to Sergeant and said, “I was surprised by receiving the rank of Sergeant today, – a good surprise. Sir Andrew explained that the new rank means more responsibility. It’s quite scary but I think Luke and I will be able to handle it!”

The Combined Cadet Force at Magnus has grown in numbers year on year, and Michelle Bradshaw (CCF Contingent Commander) said that no student is refused the opportunity to join. “Magnus Combined Cadet Force is like a family.  It’s like each cadet has 48 siblings looking out for them. We never ask cadets to do activities that they are opposed to, for example, many don’t want to fire a gun because it would compromise them morally.  Some might not fly because of medical conditions. But for the one thing they cannot do, – there are many more they can. In my full teaching career, I have never been more proud than I was at the ceremony.”

Anna Martin is Executive Principal at Magnus C of E Academy and said, “This has been a wonderful event to mark not only Warburton House becoming the home of the CCF, but to recognise the efforts and achievements of our cadets. It was made even more special by the attendance of a number of important guests, including Sir Andrew Pulford, whose support means so much to the academy and the Combined Cadet Force. Sir Andrew is an inspirational example to all of us, and his willingness to speak to and encourage our cadets has a great impact on their aspirations. Our cadets have made us proud, and we can’t wait to see the amazing things they will experience in the coming year.”