The group of cadets heading to the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. (Photo - Sylvia Maric)

Vernon Cadets to mark 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy

Organizers are hosting a final fundraiser for the trip at the Kalamalka Hotel on Wednesday, April 24.

With fewer than seven weeks before they depart for Normandy and the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, cadets from the 1705 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp (BC Dragoons) are making a final fundraising push to help defray costs for the trip.

On Wednesday, April 24, organizers will host a fundraiser at The Kal from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

“Twenty dollars will get you a burger and a beverage,” said organizer Sylvia Maric.

There will also be 50/50 draws, raffle baskets and a pair of Westjet tickets up for grabs. The evening will be cash-only. Two local bands, the Okanagan Pipes and Drums, will provide music.

Related: Vernon Cadets to mark D-Day in Normandy

The nine participating cadets, Capt. Lisa Devine and a number of parents will attend the D-Day ceremony on Juno Beach and represent Royal Canadian Legion members, Canadian cadet organizations, B.C. and Canada.

“All the cadets are history buffs and each has been paired with a soldier who is buried at Beny-Sur-Mer, the Canadian cemetery near Juno Beach,” said Devine. “They have done research as to the unit the soldier served in, his age and the day he died, as well as any personal information they could find.”

Cadet Warrant Officer Andrew Cusveller, who joined 1705 RCACC when he was 12, is looking forward to touring the battlefields of Normandy in addition to the ceremonial events.

To date, the cadets have received a $2,000 donation from the Coldstream Women’s Institute and significant donations from the Oyama, Lumby and Armstrong legion branches, as well as the Lumby thrift store and the Joseph Segal Foundation in Vancouver. They have also benefited from a partnership with Chasers Bottle Depot, where supporters can donate their returned bottles to the travel fund. The cadets also worked at the Interior Provincial Exhibition in September as part of their fundraising effort and took part in grocery bagging and many bottle drives.

For the cadets and officers, the trip to Normandy will be an opportunity to take part in both a serious commemorative ceremony and sightseeing.

They will fly to London and spend three days sightseeing there before moving on to Normandy. After the ceremonies, the group will visit Paris before flying home.

Related: Military service honoured for Vernon captain

Related: Cadet season wraps up

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