Remembrance Parade Henley

Have Your Say – Cadet Groups Face Closure as Drill Hall is a Neighbourhood Plan Site

I have recently read that a number of “youths” have been visited by the police in connection with anti-social behaviour in Sonning Common – and who can blame them if there is nothing for them to do? This problem will soon arise in Henley if nothing is done to provide something meaningful for these “youths”.

Henley Army Cadet Force and Henley Air Training Corps will soon succumb to the same fate as the Henley Youth Centre, shut down and forgotten about – what else is there for young people of Henley to do?

Henley Army Cadet Force and Henley Air Training Corps currently have a combined 75 cadets, all aged between 12 and 18 years old, we provide them with challenging and progressive training based on military themes, instructing them on Values and Standards – essentially turning young teenagers in to respectable young adults. I must also add that all the instructors, including myself, are volunteers, and do what we do for the young people of Henley.

I’m also sure that most of you were on the Remembrance Sunday parade, and could watch these proud young people parade in front of their loved ones; this may not happen in five years’ time, and what else is there for young people to do?

So, may I ask that more consideration is taken for us; the Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps, for the sake of the future young people of Henley.

2Lt Thomas Fearn
Henley Detachment Commander

Dear Thomas

Thank you for your email.  I much enjoyed my visit to the Henley Army Cadets on 31 August.  It was good to see you all there.  As I explained, my daughter has had a very fruitful association with the Naval cadets.  So I support the excellent opportunities you make available for young people in the area.  I do not believe that your fears of being shut down and forgotten about will occur; you are too much part of the town life.

You might like to be aware that the Government is keen to increase the number of units. In schools for example Ministers have a target of expanding the number of CCFs by 145.  Banking fines worth around £50 million are committed to the Cadet Expansion Programme, which will increase the number of Cadet Units in state schools to 500 by 2020.

I know this applies to schools but it is a good indication of the importance which we give to this issue.

Best wishes

John Howell OBE MP FSA

Mr Howell

Thank you very much for your prompt response on this matter; and thank you for your kind words.

However, our Friday Street drill hall has been ear marked for closure, and is on the Joint Henley & Harpsden Resident Plan to provide 10 new homes by 2027; as well as being on the Secretary of Defence’s list for military estates to be closed, with our closure meant to happen in 2014.

My above email was a plea for help for people to assist in our struggle to find us a suitable site, before we succumb to the same fate of the Youth Centre.

Any further assistance or guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Again, thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards

2Lt Thomas Fearn


  1. Sarah Ellis says:

    I am deeply saddened to see this report. My son joined the Army Cadet Force 18 months ago, this has given him focus, respect and loyalty. Seriously there is nothing set up for the under 18 year old’s in Henley. Slowly slowly activities are being taken away from the under 18’s, Skate Park, Youth Centre and now this. You mention that Henley Army Cadet Force and Henley Air Training Corps currently have a combined 75 cadets, surely this shows that this is a well attended group. I for one was so proud to watch them all parade on Remembrance Sunday, we must not forget ! 2Lt Thomas Fearn works so hard with these teenagers it would be a great shame for Henley. Let me know what I can do to keep the Drill Centre open.

  2. niki taylor says:

    What an absolute disgrace to even consider closing this down – my ex husband was an instructor there , he went on to serve his country in Kosovo with the Royal Green Jackets , now The Rifles . He helped many young lads and girls find some purpose in their lives , some of them were very troubled , with either their home lives , or just needing a route to something good .. and guess what , it worked .. How can you dare justify closing it down – has this been approved by The Ministry of Defence ? lt is not a council matter , as the building belongs to , HRH head of all armed forces .


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