Air Cadets from across the country joined their counterparts in the Army and Sea Cadets to meet distinguished guests and at The House of Commons Speaker’s at a special reception to celebrate Cadet 150.John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, hosted the reception in his apartments in the Palace of Westminster. Cadets and adult volunteers from across the cadet movement mingled with Government Ministers and a host of members of both Houses of Parliament.
Chief amongst the guests were: Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary; Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for Defence; Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children & Families; Andrew Robathan MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans; Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP, Secretary of State for Wales; and John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning. The cadets were also joined by former Defence Minister, Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP. The host, Mr Speaker, explained how he offered to host the reception after one of his constituents impressed upon him how important it was to support the cadet movement in this, its 150th year. He also spoke about historic accounts of the Houses of Parliament that joked that his official apartments as merely “adequate” accommodation for a gentleman.
Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets), Major General Greg Smith QVRM TD DL, then made a brief speech thanking Mr Speaker for his hospitality and paying tribute to the cadets and adult volunteers and the contribution they voluntarily make to society. Finally the three Lord Lieutenants’ cadets spoke about what the cadet movement means to them, which all present regarded as the highlight of the evening. Cadet Flight Sergeant Alex Dutch of 241 (Wanstead & Woodford) Squadron spoke on behalf of the Air Cadets. Afterwards she said:“It was a great experience to be able to look around the House of Commons, and to meet the ministers and MPs that run our country. They really seemed to care about what we had to say.I spoke about what being a cadet means to me, my highs and lows (highs being my first solo flight and visit to the Falklands, and lows – I couldn’t think of any!) and our involvement with the community, as well as what Cadet150 is and what the cadet movement is all about.”