In March 2014 the club were approached by Jim Stillings on behalf of the Army Cadet Force Platoon based in Rossett, which is between Wrexham and Chester, regarding a project the cadets are involved in on the WW1 Somme battlefields.
Jim then came to the club and gave an in-depth talk on the work his Cadets are engaged in at two Memorial sites on the Somme.
The Cadets have been travelling to the Somme, France since 2006. Initially they went once a year but the Platoon then became involved in a number of activities commemorating the First World War and the servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice. They now travel up to three times a year to continue their work.
They have been working on the Lochnagar Crater, situated near the village of La Boiselle. The crater is a result of a massive detonation within a tunnel dug beneath German lines designed to create devastation and confusion as the first wave of troops went “over the top” on 1st July 1916. The Platoon has been working to control the trees and scrub around the perimeter which is now largely clear. They continue to take the lead role in keeping the area clear which has benefitted the increased visitor numbers travelling to the site over recent years.
To help with some of the costs incurred with the continued work Jim asked the club if they would be willing to get involved with the project in some way. He collects various varieties of wood on his visits and members of the club suggested that turning pens would be an ideal way of utilising the various timbers. It was agreed that the Platoon supply the pen kits and members would volunteer to turn the pens and these would then be sold by the Cadets to help with the fund raising. This has proved very successful and to date over a hundred pens have been turned and sold.