Banff cadet hut officially opened

March 23, 2023

2nd Battalion The Highlanders’ new cadet hut in Banff was officially opened by the Lord-Lieutenant for Banffshire Mr Andrew Simpson on 13 March.

The £400,000 modular building in Aberdeenshire forms part of Highland RFCA’s £1.4 million programme of cadet building replacements. Similar buildings have also been installed in Newport, Bo’ness and Mastrick, Aberdeen.

The building was originally lifted into place by a crane in five sections over the space of just five hours on 15 February last year.

The modern, energy efficient design replaces the old Spooner huts that have passed the point of economical repair. The building was designed to the specifications of the Army Cadet Force (ACF) and Highland RFCA by JAMstudio in Aberdeen and built and installed by Healthmatic Ltd.

The design features a drill hall, two classrooms, an office, kitchen, store and toilets.

The new building.

The Lord-Lieutenant (pictured top of page with cadets and adult volunteers) and guests were welcomed to the building by Battalion Commandant Colonel Gordon Rae.

He said: “Welcome to the Banff ACF detachment. This is a cracking facility and represents a significant investment, so thanks to Highland RFCA for the work they have put in to make this happen.

“I was speaking to the cadets earlier who used the old hut and they see this facility as a fantastic opportunity for the young people of the Banffshire area, and we are hoping to see more and more of them coming through as they make use of this building.”

The Lord-Lieutenant then unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

The Lord-Lieutenant for Banffshire with (left) Colonel Gordon Rae.

He said: “It gives me the greatest pleasure to open this new hut for the Banff detachment of 2nd Battalion The Highlanders Army Cadet Force.  

“It is fantastic to see the local community in Banff benefitting from an excellent facility for some of our youth to enjoy and make the most of.

“My thanks go to Highland RFCA, who identified the need to replace the old cadet hut, gave it priority for funding, and then oversaw the design, construction and completion of the project.  

“My thanks also go to SSI Smith (Detachment Commander), Maj Milne (Company Commander) & SMI McRae (Company Training Officer) and the other adult volunteers who have enabled training to continue from Portsoy Detachment during the extended interim period. I very much hope that now you are back in this fantastic place you will grow and thrive as a detachment. How encouraging it is to hear from the cadets themselves about how many have joined in the last few months and are enjoying it.

“I used to be a secondary head teacher and chatting to the cadets reminded me of some of my former pupils. One boy had a tough time in his early years at school, but outside school he was a member of the cadets and enjoyed all their activities and the social life. The cadet unit gave him stability, it boosted his self-esteem. Life at school slowly got much better. As a result he stayed on to sixth year gaining qualifications and experiences. He is now established in a very successful career path.

“I also remember a brother and sister who gained so much from being in cadets. They asked if they could run an assembly for first year pupils to tell them about the cadets. I hadn’t realised they had the self-confidence and presentation skills to do that.

“The cadets made a difference to all of those pupils.”

He added: “I’m delighted to formally open this building. Enjoy it and make the most of the facilities. I know that as cadets you will grow in your skills and personal development.”

The Lord-Lieutenant chats to Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs).

The Lord-Lieutenant and guests were then given a tour of the facility, followed by a buffet.

Major Stuart Eddie, Cadet Executive Officer for 2nd Battalion The Highlanders, said: “This is an important new lease of life for the Army Cadets in Banff, with a fantastic new building designed and built to the needs of the cadets and a world away from the building it replaces.

“It is in a prime site in the heart of the town. This is a boost for the community and highlights the importance placed on providing youngsters aged between 12 and 18 opportunities to learn skills, have adventure, form new friendships and have great fun.”

Colonel Gordon Rae welcomed guests to the new facility.