One of The Salvation Army’s youngest cadets has thanked the people of Cumbernauld for making her feel at home after arriving on a 12-week work placement last week.
Claire Whybrow, from Peterborough, joined commanding officers Stephen and Joanna Moir to help out with a range of projects at the charity’s base on Clouden Road.
It’s only Claire’s second week in the role but the 24-year-old already feels part of the community.
She said: “I’m so happy to be in Cumbernauld to help Steve and Jo with the amazing work they do. I’m already helping out with Sunday services, visiting people and in the Hope Kitchen where food parcels are given out.
“This is my first placement so I'm excited, if a little nervous, to be here. But the people of Cumbernauld have been so welcoming and friendly that I feel like I’ve been here for longer than a week.”
With the age of Salvation Army cadets ranging from 22 to 56, Claire is one of the ‘babies’ at the William Booth College. The training centre is named after the charity’s founder and Claire has just completed the first year of a two-year course.
But while many of her friends back home are throwing themselves into their careers, hobbies and families, Claire is following her ‘calling’.
She said: “I don't have a grand plan for my journey within The Salvation Army. I’m just listening to God and seeing what He does.
“In 2007 I attended a ceremony where my friend's mum was commissioned and felt a calling. Soon after that, I went to Ground Zero in New York and visited a church there. The bible was open at Isaiah 42:6. The verse, which says God will hold my hand and make me a covenant for the people, had been important to me before then so I saw it as another sign.
“My mum, dad and brother were pleased when I told them I was joining The Salvation Army although I still can't remember the actual moment I broke the news to them.”
Claire and her family have been part of The Salvation Army all their life but her new role has seen her work in Zambia and Malawi.
She added: “I spent three months in Zambia and six weeks in Malawi. In Malawi I worked with kids who had been trafficked. I was based in a centre there for rescue children. It was harrowing but the young people there were just so friendly and eager to learn.”