On 7th September, Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major Charlie Rice accompanied HM Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, and met and accompanied HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex, during her visit to RAF Wittering.
Cdt RSM Rice, a Uniformed Public Services student at Cambridge Regional College and cadet at Whittlesey Detachment, was present as part of his duties as a Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet, which involves assisting HM Lord Lieutenant Mrs Julie Spence, OBE QPM, with her ceremonial duties. During his visit, he was able to put his skills to good use as an ambassador for the ACF, meeting many different service personnel and always conducting himself with the highest standards expected of a cadet.
Cadet RSM Charlie Rice (with red and blue cap, centre) along with HRH The Countess of Wessex (front row second from left) and HM Lord Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire (front, right), after the presentation of The Countess of Wessex Cup. Picture: Crown Copyright SAC Kim Waterson
HRH The Countess of Wessex arrived by helicopter and was greeted by The Lord Lieutenant and Cadet RSM Rice. RSM Rice then accompanied her whilst she listened to presentations (some in person, some via a video link) from military organisations for which she holds an Honorary appointment. Cadet CSM Rice exchanged pleasantries with the Countess, and she asked him about his role. He said: ‘She was really nice, informal and easy going, and she really wanted to get involved in the day's events. Everyone was really pleased to see her.’
HM Countess of Wessex during her visit. Picture: Crown Copyright SAC Kim Waterson.
HRH The Countess of Wessex is Honorary Air Commodore Royal Air Force Wittering, Royal Colonel of the 5th Battalion The Rifles, Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, Lady Sponsor of HMS Daring, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Corps of Army Music and Colonel-in-Chief of Canadian Regiments the Lincoln and Welland Regiment the South Alberta Light Horse.
As well as catching up with news from her military organisations, she was also there to present The Countess of Wessex Cup- a prize given to one of her military units who performs best in a series of competitive challenges in Physical Training, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) an E-sports challenge and an Escape Room exercise (in which a team of players in a room solve puzzles and complete tasks in a limited amount of time). The Countess was keen to participate in the E-sports challenge herself: a rally driving video game, in which she negotiated the course with great success. A statement from the RAF said that the Countess was ‘really impressed with the levels of skill and determination shown by each of the teams.’ In the end, The Countess presented the cup to the winning team from 5th Battalion The Rifles.
One highlight of the afternoon was a flypast by the Red Arrows. Picture: Charlie Rice
CDT RSM Rice said; ‘It was a really exciting day. It was particularly great to be representing the ACF with so many different services there, and to see how the Army, RAF and Navy all do things differently. The afternoon proved to be a massive insight into what goes on with all these different organisations.’
Text by PI Doug Stuart
With thanks to Flt Lt Swann at RAF Wittering for use of photographs.