VILLAGE youngsters are learning a new sense of respect and politeness thanks to a project to resurrect an Army Cadet force spearheaded by teenager Adam Grant.

Now just six months after the cadets were started in Market Lavington, near Devizes, it has become one of the most popular in the county,

The new group, which meets at Lavington School, near Devizes on a Wednesday evening already has 50 youngsters on its books.

Commander Shawn Scott is not surprised. He said: "We’ve always had a lot of Lavington pupils join as cadets – in fact there was a detachment here 20 years or more ago – but in recent years they’ve had to join units at Devizes or Larkhill. With a lot of single parents or non-driver families in a rural area like this, the travelling posed difficulties.

“It was a young lad called Cadet Bombardier Adam Grant, then a pupil here, who set the ball rolling to resurrect the Lavington detachment. He approached the head and outlined what was needed – and emphasised the benefits for youngsters in terms of personal development."

Staff sergeant instructor Shaw said that the first week 56 youngsters turned up and since then only six have dropped out.

He said: "The cadets have use of the main hall and classrooms for instruction, including several with smart TV presentation boards. There’s a new dining hall and lots of green space outside.

“There’s nothing else for kids around here, just a youth club that opens once a month.

“On parade nights we go through the full Army Cadets syllabus – fieldcraft, first aid, shooting, drill, skill-at-arms, cadet and the community, and physical education. There are five adult instructors here normally.

“It’s still early days but we will be fully equipped and self-sufficient within a few months.”

He said that parents have seen a positive outcome with a number remarking on their children's improved politeness and respect for others.

Adam, 17, who pushed for the cadet detachment to be formed, is delighted with the outcome. He said: "They all came in without any knowledge of the Army Cadets or things military.

“I’ve just come in from a drill session for one-star novice cadets who had no discipline at all when they started last September. They’re all now really switched on and marching in time. It’s amazing to see.”