Our cadets regularly achieve fantastic things during their time with us. This success encompasses not just their ACF activities, but other areas too, often assisted by the skills and confidence they have gained from their cadet experience.
17 year old Cadet Corporal Kate Bilclough, of 2 Coy St Neots Detachment, recently participated in the Equinox 24 Challenge at Belvior Castle in Grantham to raise money for Breast Cancer UK. The Equinox 24 Challenge is a physically and mentally demanding 24 hour race around a mixed terrain 10K loop, against the clock. Additionally, she has taken part in multiple other fundraising challenges to raise money for the same cause.
Cdt Cpl Bilclough during the challenge.
Four years ago, Cdt Cpl Bilclough joined a local physical training group (unconnected to the ACF), a boot camp run by Mitch Wilson Fitness Training, looking to meet new people and keep herself fit. When a fellow member of the boot camp was diagnosed with breast cancer, Cpl Bilclough and her colleagues felt determined to do something to show their support. For this reason, they started to take part in a series of challenges to raise money for Breast Cancer UK. The first of these was to walk or run 7k in 7 days, which she completed with family members. The next was a 12 hour boot camp at The Bell, Paxton. This involved circuits, zumba, exercise biking and an obstacle course.
On the weekend 18th-19th September, the group camped overnight at Belvoir Castle, Grantham, to take part in the Equinox 24 Challenge. Cdt Cpl Bilclough said: ‘in small teams (we had 3 teams of 4 people) we had to see how many 10k laps of the castle groups we could complete in a 24 hour period, running or walking through the day and night. I ran 10k in 1h 06 minutes and this included a ‘killer’ hill. I also did 10k in the dark with only a head torch for light, in 1h 12 mins. Between our 3 teams we completed 41 laps - 410kms, and have raised over £3,500 for Breast Cancer UK. It was exhausting, but I felt really happy knowing we were doing it for a good cause.’
Cdt Cpl Bilclough. Picture: Doug Stuart
In completing this challenge, Cdt Cpl Bilclough was assisted by her experiences in the ACF. She said; ‘My experience of teamwork as a cadet was really helpful, as well as teaching me how to communicate better, and improving my confidence. What I really like about the Cadets is the teamwork and how friendly everybody is.’
She joined the ACF three years ago and is extremely enthusiastic about her experiences and the opportunities afforded to her. She made the most of training offered during lockdown, completing the Junior Cadet Instructors Cadre (JCIC) and the CVQO BTEC in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community. She has attended multiple weekend camps and training days, and plays an important role in teaching other cadets at her detachment. St Neots Instructor SSI Irving said: ‘She is a key member of the team who assists teaching juniors most weeks and assists with all aspects on a parade night. Its no secret to say we very much hope she will continue her ACF career as a Staff Cadet.’
In the longer term, Cdt Cpl Bilclough is looking forward to an Army career, planning to become an Ammunition Technician with the Royal Logistic Corps.
Her Detachment Commander, Colour Sgt Stagg said: ‘i would just like to say how proud we are of her, she has run 5k for Help For Heroes plus taking part in the Equinox 24 Challenge in Belvior, to raise money for Breast Cancer UK. If you look at the challenges Cpl Bilclough has taken part in in, 7k walk 12hr boot camp, running 10k in the dark with just a head lamp, she is a credit to St Neots Detachment.’
Text by PI Doug Stuart