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Sandwich Army Cadet volunteer appeals for support to stop the Drill Hall on The Quay being sold off

Young Army cadets in Sandwich will have nowhere to go if the Drill Hall on The Quay is sold.

That is the fear of a 79-year-old volunteer with the Sandwich Detachment Army Cadet Force, who is looking to gather support to save the hall and cadets.

Albert Tweddle, of Poulders Gardens, said: “We’ll have nowhere to go. The young people who attend cadets are able to obtain a wide range of experience which encourages responsibility for oneself and others and leadership.

Former cadet Colin Buckle and volunteer Albert Tweddle are looking to gather support to keep the hall as it is
Former cadet Colin Buckle and volunteer Albert Tweddle are looking to gather support to keep the hall as it is

“Depriving the cadets of the Drill Hall in Sandwich is a regressive move for the town.

“Young people are often denigrated for their behaviour around the town and I think we should support them in their endeavours to broaden their experience and become responsible members of the community.”

Mr Tweddle, who is the chairman of the Sandwich branch of the Royal British Legion, said member numbers declined after the hall was flooded in 2014 and the detachment were forced to meet in Deal.

He said: “As time went on and work to refurbish the hall only started twelve months ago our numbers, which were 21, declined owing to the extra travelling involved. Our members came from a widespread local area.

“In the meantime we were told that they would come back when the Drill Hall reopened.

“But we were recently informed that the Sandwich Detachment would be disbanded and that the drill hall would be sold.”

Mr Tweddle fears the hall will be turned into a museum and feels that more should be done to save the detachment.

He said: “The cadets have supported the town and its organisations by standard bearing and forming colour parties at Remembrance Sundays and Mayors’ Civic Parades. They were also affiliated to the Sandwich Royal British Legion and sold poppies in the town.”

The town council has expressed its interest to buy the building.

Sandwich town clerk Laura Fidler said: “Following the discovery of Sandwich’s Magna Carta & Charter of the Forest last year the Council started to think about how to improve the towns museum facilities, currently there is a modest museum in the Guildhall.

“An enquiry was sent to the solicitors for the Ministry of Defence, who own the property, and this enquiry has been chased up but we’ve received no response.

“In the meantime the Council continues to explore ways to improve the existing museum.”

A MOD spokesman said: “The Reserve Forces and Cadet Association owns the Drill Hall in Sandwich. As the building is no longer in use, there is no requirement to keep the site and accordingly they intend to sell. The army cadets have already relocated to Deal.”

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