Drumming up a big surprise for cadets

Cadets are surprised with five drums
Cadets are surprised with five drums

When the Hailsham cadets turned up to perform at a Battle of Britain celebration at a town care home, they had no idea about the surprise in store for them.

Members of the 249 (Hailsham) (The Millenium) Squadron, Royal Airforce Cadets, were at Bowes House Care home in Hailsham when they were presented with five new drums.

Anne Morris who works for the home saw members of the newly formed Hailsham drum corps demonstrating their skills on practise pads on a table and she set her heart on helping them to play the real thing.

She approached her bosses at Care UK who run Bowes and asked for funding to pay for one drum.

She was thrilled when they offered to buy five after her management were impressed by the enthusiasm of the youngsters beating their rhythms on pads.

The cadets had no idea of the surprise in store for them at the end of a Battle of Britain celebration where they helped serve refreshments for residents and visitors who gathered for entertainment from the 1940s war-time era.

Their commanding officer, Flt Lt Craig Thomson, had kept the presentation a secret but said he was very grateful to Anne and Bowes House, Care UK, for their support.

He added: “We couldn’t afford the drums ourselves and when Anne said she would like to support the cadets I didn’t think it would happen because the drums are very expensive.

“Now a lot of opportunities will open up including the possibility of the corps being able to lead Remembrance Day parades.”

The drums were presented on behalf of Care UK by the Mayor of Hailsham Cllr Jo Bentley who added to the excitement when announcing that she planned to buy the cadets a bass drum. Cllr Bentley was recently appointed vice-president of the squadron.

Anne, who is a customer relations manager at Bowes House, said: “Now they just need five more drums to make them a force to be reckoned with and I really hope that other businesses will step in to complete the set. These youngsters should be encouraged.”

The presentation continued with music from the Swing Time Sweethearts who prompted reminiscences by singing songs of the Andrews Sisters, Gracie Fields, Anne Shelton and Vera Lynn.