6 February 2021

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet Sgt Charlie Rice is walking a 190 mile coast to coast challenge, in full kit, to raise money for 1 Company.

1 Company OC Major Deacon had originally planned to walk across the country, coast to coast, with Sgt Rice and other cadets. Due to lockdown restrictions, the original plan could not go ahead. Sgt Rice was determined to find a way to complete the challenge himself however, and so has split the distance into smaller chunks, averaging six miles a day, walking in the Whittlesey to Thorney area. He has been walking in full kit, comprising rucksack, webbing and water weighing 17.5kg.

Charlie Rice walking in the Fens. Pictures by Charlie and Vanessa Rice

His determination has so far resulted in 130 miles completed and £1340 raised.

Sixteen-year-old Sgt Rice is one of Cambridgeshire’s finest cadets, an accomplishment recognised by his appointment to Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet last year. As well as taking a leading instructional role at his detachments (Whittlesey and Cambridge Regional College) he has previously fundraised for 1 Coy, including a 2019 effort when he organised and took part in a 15-mile walk which raised nearly £2000. The money raised on both occasions has (and will) be used towards new furniture for detachments, purchasing equipment and helping less fortunate cadets with the cost of their kit.

Sgt Rice said: “I have been a cadet for four and a half years and the experience has been second to none. I have taken part in amazing trips and activities that no other youth organisation could offer. I’ve learned skills for life, such as leadership, communication and survival skills.”

With his mother, Vanessa Rice, he has attracted donations from multiple companies including PJ Thory Ltd, and Cadet Direct Ltd. He received significant help from Tesco in the form of raffle prizes worth £200, which included a speaker system and electric shaver.

Cdt Sgt Rice collects the donated items at Tesco. Picture; Vanessa Rice

He has used his walking challenge to engage with other walkers and promote the ACF at every opportunity, whilst socially distanced and putting on a mask. On Friday 29th January he was interviewed about his fundraising on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, and his story has featured in The Cambs Times.

Vanessa Rice said: “If Charlie wants to do something, nine times out of ten he will achieve it. When we smashed the first target, he said ‘let’s keep going’. We’re very proud of him. He didn’t get asked to do it, he did it off his own back. He has done brilliantly and has just got on with it.”

On Friday 5th February Sgt Rice was accompanied by 1 Coy OC Major Deacon, who came to walk with him and show her support for his extraordinary efforts. This was in line with local exercise rules, and they were socially distanced and wore masks. Like Cdt Sgt Rice, she was disappointed that the original coast to coast walk had not gone ahead, but was hopeful that it might be possible later this year.

1 Company OC Major Deacon and Cdt Sgt Rice. Picture; Vanessa Rice

Major Deacon said: “We had a great walk together on Friday, and really enjoyed the countryside. I am so proud of what my cadets have achieved during this pandemic. Cdt Sgt Rice has kept himself busy throughout the lockdowns, so it was no surprise when he decided to walk the equivalent of coast to coast. He has done an amazing job fundraising at the same time and continues to exceed his targets. The funds will be reinvested into the cadet force and support other cadets to have the full cadet experience.’

Sgt Rice is studying Level 3 Uniformed Services at CRC and is hoping for a career in the police force.

His fundraising page can be found at:

Text by PI Doug Stuart with thanks to Cdt Sgt Charlie Rice.