A group from Cumbria Army Cadet Force has returned from a trip to the other side of the world after setting up an international exchange link.

Members of the cadet force met with the counterparts on the Turks and Caicos Islands which lie in the Bahamas northeast of Cuba.

The purpose of their trip was to set-up an exchange programme with the cadet force in the archipelago.

12 cadets from across the county will be heading out to the Bahamas for ten days in July.

Colonel Harnby, from Crosthwaite, commented: “I am delighted to be taking a party of Cumbrian Cadets back to the Caribbean in July and to receiving Cadets from the Turks and Caicos Islands to Cumbria the following year.”

While the group was out there, they met with a number of high profile members of the Islands’ government.

This includes the Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson and Karen Malcolm, the minister of education.

Last year, the commanding officer of the Islands’ cadet force met with Peter McCall, the police and crime commissioner, when he came to Cumbria.

Colonel Harnby added: “Exchange programmes are so important in the development of young people, giving them the confidence to explore and travel and see different cultures first hand.

It wasn’t all work and no play for the Cumbrian group who got to enjoy the sights of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

They snorkelled in the coral reefs, swam amongst the dolphins and watched humpback whales with their children.

The exchange program will give the young cadets the opportunity to take part in these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

As well as that, and their other duties as part of the cadet force, they will be doing an environmental project to raise awareness about the damage being done to the oceans.

Colonel Harnby said: “I hope it will be a life-changing opportunity for all those involved.”

At the end of last year, the island’s governor announced that it will set-up a defence regiment with the assistance of the UK’s Ministry of Defence to increase the nation’s national security.

In the event of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, the regiment will be trained in engineering and communications to provide support for the relief situations.

The six boys and six girls from across Cumbria, along with four adult volunteers, will get to see just how the development of this regiment is progressing when they travel there during the summer.