ANNUAL CCF SALAMANCA DINNER
The CCF annual dinner is an eagerly anticipated event in the CCF calendar. This year’s dinner did not disappoint.
Cadets had a musical treat as the reception drinks were beautifully accompanied by Will Moxham on the piano. A quintet from the Salisbury Branch of The Royal British Legion created a special atmosphere, playing throughout the evening. This observed dinner night protocols with the National Anthem being played whilst cadets respectfully stood firm, with port glasses held high. The best Bugle Platoon in The Rifles wearing regimental mess kit played bugle calls, which are short tunes originating as a military signal announcing events above the noise and confusion of a battlefield. Every duty around camp had its own bugle call and also relayed commanders’ orders on the battlefield. Second Lieutenant Wahab, a young Rifles officer who joined Lance Corporal Lawrence as our guests for the evening, explained the meaning of different bugle calls. Boarding houses at Warminster School would certainly value ‘Reveille’, a bugle call signalling the troops to awaken for morning roll call. Bugle calls were followed by a rousing display with the Bugle Major and buglers moving around the room, cadets and staff thrilled by the talent on display. What a treat!
Spencer Bull, the father of one of our school pupils, was our guest of honour for the evening. Previously a Rifles officer with a career spanning 29 years, it was a pleasure and a privilege to share the top table and hear the sage advice he gave to cadets during his speech based on the British Army’s core values of Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless Commitment. His anecdotal examples demonstrated that these values are so much more than words on a page.
At the end of the evening, it is traditional to say a few words, perhaps including an embarrassing tale about long-serving cadets who are leaving school and the CCF. Ben had an air of confidence as I stood up to say a few words about him. Having spoken to cadets and staff, it seemed that there were few embarrassing stories to be told about Ben. Even the matron of Boniface said that Ben was, “…as squeaky clean as a bottle of bleach”. Never fear. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Ben’s mother was more than happy to provide a couple of photographs to share during the presentation – Ben dressed as Spiderman and Ben ‘the builder’. “I wasn’t expecting that”, he said. After taking nervous glances at his notes throughout the evening, Ben stood up and did a fantastic job, intertwining humour and heartfelt words when making presentations to his fellow cadets. I particularly enjoyed seeing the palpable bond between our 6th Formers – we will miss them dearly. Such a fine group of young people who will undoubtedly succeed in whatever journey they take in the future. As a lasting memento of their time in the CCF, cadets were presented with a tastefully prepared picture framing their rank slide, cap badge and a headshot of them wearing CCF uniform. Jon Edkins, as always, has produced some fine presentations, which no doubt cadets will treasure for time to come.
As was noted by our Headmaster, who attended the dinner for the first time, the evening was an invaluable opportunity for cadets to mix socially with different year groups, staff, officers and soldiers in the context of a formal dinner and it was an absolute pleasure to see cadets rise to the occasion looking splendid in black tie and an array of stunning gowns as well as behaving impeccably. It was also Helen Burnett’s first CCF dinner in her role as Catering Manager. Helen and her team laid on a spread of smoked salmon terrine, lamb shank, raspberry and white chocolate Eton Mess and cheeseboard. Delicious! With support from our maintenance team, Boniface Hall was transformed, creating a superb setting for this formal dinner. Thanks to their tireless hard work behind the scenes, making the CCF dinner so special.
Finally, I would like to thank our CCF staff for their hard work, commitment and sense of humour throughout the year. Of particular note is the achievement of Mr Simon Palma. Having served 12 years as an adult volunteer with Warminster School CCF alongside his other school commitments, Simon has qualified for his Cadet Forces’ Medal. He is a special member of our team.
Ange Garner, CCF Contingent Commander