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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



28 June 2017

Local Cadets have been rolling up their sleeves and tackling some tough gardening duties this month, helping to create a tranquil space for veterans to enjoy at the Rosemount Estate in Greyabbey.

The teenagers from the Donaghadee and Peninsula Detachments Army Cadet Force stepped in to tame an unruly piece of land gifted to the UDR & Royal Irish (Home Service) Aftercare Service to use for horticultural therapy.  The organisation, which was created ten years ago to support Home Service Veterans with opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing, runs a variety of horticultural skills at three garden sites.

For two days the cadets pulled weeds, turned soil, mowed lawns, trimmed hedges and tidied away cut grass until a glorious garden emerged. Few of them had ever lifted a spade or trowel before, but they were all happy to get in touch with their inner Alan Titchmarsh in support of a great good cause.  

Emily Dwyer (14), from Newtownards said, “I don’t think any of us realised what hard work gardening could be but, once we got stuck in, it was actually surprisingly enjoyable.  It was amazing to see what could be achieved after a few days’ working together. The only downside is that we all reckon our parents will want us to be gardening at home now too!”

Thanking the Cadets for their contribution, made as part of their ongoing community service commitment, Aftercare Service Director, Mr Peter Baillie, said, “I was only too pleased to pull on my boots and work alongside the Cadets and their inspiring Adult Volunteers.  Their enthusiasm was tremendous and we all had a laugh or two as we dug for victory.
“The garden was in great need of the enhancement and will now be a fantastic resource, not only for UDR and Royal Irish Veterans but also for the wider veteran family. We are always eager to welcome community involvement in maintaining and supporting our projects and it was wonderful to see these local teenagers ‘grasp the nettle’!  To everyone who was involved a massive thank you and we look forward to making the most of this marvellous facility in the stunning location of Greyabbey’s Rosemount Estate.”


Pictured above from left: Welly-booted Emily Dwyer (14) from Newtownards gets down to work in the Rosemount Estate garden; shedloads of work for 14-year-old Dylan Murphy from Millisle and 13-year-old Erin Shannon from Ballyhalbert; pausing for breath: Sophie Ayres (15) from Newtownards.


Pictured above, from left: Weed or flower? Green-fingered 13-year-old Niall Caughey from Cloughy considers the options; Getting tore in! 15-year-old David Gordon from Ballyhalbert was more than ready for the challenge of physical hard work! 


Pictured above from left:  The group get stuck into the hard graft; 12-year-old Harry Dwyer from Newtownards shows he's handy with a trowel.