Blackpool Air Cadets tackle 13.1 miles for Blind Veterans UK

17 October 2013 15:05

This month the Blackpool Air Cadets will be taking part in the Blind Veterans UK Cadet and Youth Challenge in Blackpool.

The challenge asks cadet and youth groups to think up the most imaginative and unique way of tackling the half marathon distance of 13.1 miles. Whether this is canoeing, biking, walking blindfolded of a combination of all three, the most inspiring challenge will be awarded with the 'best challenge trophy' at the end of the season.

In the latest Cadet challenge, three squadrons of air cadets will be walking from their HQ at Blackpool Airport to the promenade on Blackpool beach where some of the cadets will hop onto donkeys and ride all the way to the War Memorial and back.

The other cadets will be holding a collection for Blind Veterans UK along the way. The donkey cavalry will be joined by blind veterans, staff and volunteers for support and there will also be members of the RAF participating.

We caught up with the Commanding Officer Flt Lt Andrew Nickson, who will be leading 177 Squadron ATC throughout the Cadet challenge. Andrew and the Blackpool air cadet squadron are preparing for the challenge by getting sponsorship and looking into the route that will be taken. Andrew said that fitness training was key to the success of the challenge.

The Cadet group feel confident since commencing with their training and they have chosen a route which they are familiar with. This will be the fifth time 177 Squadron ATC have taken part in the Cadet challenge. They won best challenge trophy in 2008, 2009 and 2010; and in 2009 they also were awarded in the best adult instructor trophy.

On speaking about why the Blackpool Air Cadets have chosen to support Blind Veterans UK, Andrew said: "We read about the challenge in a flyer sent to all ATC squadrons in 2007. We thought it looked interesting as a good way of assisting a military charity, our continued involvement is all down to the wonderful people we gave met, Colin Williamson, Billy Baxter, Henry Allingham, Bill Grifiths, Maria Pikulski and not forgetting our wonderful day at Brighton.

"In a heartbeat, it is a wonderful way of assisting a very worthwhile charity and in a manner of our choosing rather than just rattling a collection tin."

The Blackpool Air Cadets also supported the Blind Veterans UK Tarts for Troops campaign earlier in the year by holding their own extreme tea party on top of the Blackpool Tower with the help of blind veteran Maria Pikulski.

If you can spare the time, please pop down to the challenge in Blackpool where you can show your support for the cadets. Please contact Andrew Nickson by emailing or visit the ATC website to find out further details.

We are looking to recruit more Cadets to take on the Blind Veterans UK Cadet and Youth Challenge. If you know a Cadet force who fancy tackling the 13.1 mile challenge visit our Cadet Challenge webpage.