Council stands to attention for Armed Forces Week

Armed Forces Week (22-27 June) is being celebrated by South Kesteven District Council with a spotlight on a voluntary military reservist from within its own ranks.

Drew Palmer is part of the Customer Services team that has continued taking calls and helping residents throughout the Coronavirus lockdown.

Twice a week, however, he takes the rank of Staff Sergeant Instructor as a Cadet Force Adult volunteer for two youth detachments - the Royal Lancers and Royal Logistics Corps - which meet at the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks in Grantham.

The two groups collectively number almost 100 boys and girls aged 12-18 for a range of military-related training that helps to instil discipline and respect and, above all, offers fun, friendship and adventure.

As part of national Reserves Day (Wednesday 24 June), Drew will be wearing his uniform to work, as he has done each year since he joined SKDC in 2017.

Drew said: "I used to be a cadet myself and volunteered as an adult because I wanted to give something back to the younger generation. It's amazing to see youngsters grow and mature during their teenage years and feel that you have played a part in that.

"We also have cadet groups in Stamford, Deepings and Bourne and anyone is welcome to join."

Cllr Kelham Cooke, Leader of SKDC, said: "We are extremely proud of Drew who is a great example of the teamwork and community spirit that are cornerstones of our armed forces.

"That comes to the fore in so many situations of local and national crisis as is currently being shown by the leading role being played by servicemen and women who are supporting the Government's Covid-19 test and trace programme."

SKDC's online campaign in support of AFW started with the traditional flag-raising on Monday and runs through to Saturday's Armed Forces Day  (27 June), recognising the veterans, reservists and cadets who live and work locally.

It highlights a COVID-related partnership with the Army, when the council's Street Scene team stepped in to collect a large quantity of recyclable packaging left over at the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks after it had hosted national COVID testing training for military personnel.

Hundreds of Army personnel now operating Coronavirus mobile testing units across the UK were trained at the barracks before setting off in specially kitted out vehicles.

The campaign also promotes SKDC's Armed Forces Discount Card, a timely reminder to businesses wanting to reach fresh customers within the military as the district gradually re-opens.

Cllr Dean Ward, SKDC Armed Forces Champion said: "We truly value today's strong armed forces presence across South Kesteven. The Coronavirus pandemic gives us additional reason to thank our military personnel for their frontline role tackling COVID-19. 

"It's a very different celebration of Armed Forces Week and Armed Forces Day this year, but we must make sure that those within our military community know how much we appreciate the work they do for the nation. As a veteran myself I know how important that is."

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