Craig Wood

Joined 1982

Whitefield Quadrilateral Division, Greater Manchester

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Colour photograph of a male Cadet lying on dormitory bed with hands up either side of his face posing for camera
Craig Wood in dormitory at camp, 1980s Image courtesy of Craig Wood
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I’ve attended a lot. I’ve organised a lot as well as an adult. So I was a Youth Officer in Greater Manchester so I used to take 100 kids away for a week each year and then a weekend as well. So that was a week off work and I’d take them away. But as a Cadet I had been on leadership courses. I used to go on the camp that I used to organise. So many happy memories. So it was a place called Barnston in the Wirral, it’s still running now, today. So I’ve seen so many changes there. Passing letters under the doors to the girls on the other side. Moving the wardrobes so you could get in them to get underneath the fire door as it was, it was always locked and trying to jimmy it out. Taking the adults’ bedroom and putting it on the parade ground. Set it up exactly the same as it was in the adults’ dormitory and just put it on the parade ground.

One year when I was an adult we were very mischievous as kids, really imagination about what we could do. And I took these kids away for the first time and they were boring, we wanted them to do something. Because we had a staff room where we met at night-time which is where the kids usually cause as much havoc as they could do whilst the adults were in the staff room. And we came back when we had finished and they were doing nothing. It was like either they’re doing something or they’re in bed and that would be weird. And they were all in bed and it was really weird. So the night after we had been kind of jimmying them up to try and do something. They took my bed out and set it up like I would have done years ago, I was so proud of them. So proud of them for doing something that was a bit innovative and a bit mischievous. And I think that’s what, you know, they will have had such a laugh doing that. And bonded them together in doing something stupid but, you know, fun, that I was proud of them for doing that. And one of the other officers came in and started shouting at them and I was like, “No, no, I’m proud of them here. Go away.” So I was really chuffed with them. And yeah, we’d been on a sailing holiday which is probably the moment I started going out with my wife now. So we both had sailing boats. It was a place called HMS Palatine up at Hollingworth Lake and we were both out on boats. And my other half as she is now, was on the other boat and she was gutted. They were all trying to set us up with each other. I was a bit oblivious to it to be fair because I was just enjoying myself on this boat. It was right from – and it gave us a challenge. They said, “This boat will never sink.” “Oh, well we’ll try that then.” And we did try but they were right, it wouldn’t sink.

Excerpt courtesy of Craig Wood