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‘I’ve had fun watching young people achieve’ - Major with Suffolk ACF steps down after 45 years

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 August 2020

Major James Preston has retired from Suffolk Army Cadet Force after a total of 45 years volunteering Picture: ANDREW BEAL, TOWN SERGEANT, IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Major James Preston has retired from Suffolk Army Cadet Force after a total of 45 years volunteering Picture: ANDREW BEAL, TOWN SERGEANT, IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

ANDREW BEAL, TOWN SERGEANT, IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

A major with Suffolk Army Cadet Force (ACF) has retired after 45 years of dedicated volunteering.

Major James Preston (centre) with C Company, Suffolk Army Cadet Force at annual camp, 2019 Picture: STAFF SERGEANT INSTRUCTOR (SSI) JOHN TILLOTSON, SUFFOLK ACFMajor James Preston (centre) with C Company, Suffolk Army Cadet Force at annual camp, 2019 Picture: STAFF SERGEANT INSTRUCTOR (SSI) JOHN TILLOTSON, SUFFOLK ACF

Major James Preston said: “In the time I have served, I am extremely privileged to have been part of this wonderful organisation, just being a small cog in a big wheel, but seeking to inspire both cadets and adults over so many fantastic years.”

Maj Preston joined the ACF in the London South East sector in 1975, and transferred to Suffolk in 2004.

He has since held a number of roles including county training officer and his most recent post as company commander with C Company, based in Ipswich.

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During more than four decades with the cadets, Maj Preston has played a key role in events including youth football matches with Ipswich Town Football Club, the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay and the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Maj Preston will continue to support the organisation as a non-uniformed volunteer during his retirement.

He said: “I am excited to now move forwards as a non-uniformed volunteer, as I feel I can give back something in the experience I have achieved, combined with a great sense of satisfaction in watching young cadets and young adults developing and moving forward in the skills for life.

“When asked about what I will remember most with my time with the ACF, it is having fun, watching young people and adults achieving and developing their skills, and taking that big step forward in life with confidence – knowing that the adventure begins here.”

Colonel Andy Smith, commandant of Suffolk ACF, thanked Maj Preston on behalf of all the county’s cadets and adult volunteers, and wished him a very happy retirement.

The ACF is looking for new cadets and adult volunteers, with training in areas including youth leadership and management, logistics, sports coaching, military skills, adventurous training, cyber-security, marketing and public relations, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and opportunities to gain training and BTEC qualifications. For more information, visit the website.


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