2007 is now nearly over, and it has been an extremely busy year for the Squadron, as well as one which has seen tremendous highs and lows which have tested the mettle of the Squadron and its personnel.
The lows first, with an Ex Cadet, Tom Curry, being killed in action in Afghanistan in January whilst serving with the Royal Marines. His funeral was a moving and emotional event, which reminded us of the sacrifices the members of the Armed Forces make on behalf of us all.
Then the highs. ICWO Kristina Pisano being selected as the Lord Lieutenants Cadet for the Air Training Corps for London (the 3rd cadet honoured in the last 5 years). Kris was also the Best female cadet in London and South East Region, and ICWO Paul Fothergill was the best male cadet in the Region. This is believed to be the first time both best cadets have come from the same Squadron.
Cadets from the Sqn represented the Wing at the Royal Albert Hall Festival of Remembrance and at the Remembrance Parade at Whitehall, and the OC represented the Air Cadets at the Albert Hall (as seen on TV!). Cadets were also seen at the Palace of Westminster for celebrations of the 300 years of Union between England and Scotland and assisting in the International Air Cadet Exchange Scheme, fostering good will between the youth of the world!
The Sqn sent a team to the Alps for 2 weeks in July for a truly superb overseas expedition which was technically demanding and a true source of achievement.
Jason Reuben passed out of RAF Officer training as a Pilot Officer in the Fighter Control Branch at RAF Cranwell and Danny Davies passed out of Sandhurst as a 2nd Lt in the Royal Artillery, Andy Webb looks like passing out of Cranwell in the near future and we say goodbye to Matt Davies (Danny’s brother) who goes to Sandhurst in January to start his training as an Army Officer.
Holly Brogden-Knight and Matt Davies were commissioned into the RAFVR(T) and Michelle Cheah was appointed as an Adult Sgt. We also gained Kate Channon, Paul Fothergill and Julie Godden as Civilian Instructors over the year and saw staff and cadets gain qualifications as Range Officers, Rock Climbers, Obstacle Course Instructors and Weapon Instructors, enabling us to keep the standard of the training for our cadets high.
The Squadron won the Wing Drill Competition for the second year running, and the Cross Country for the 15th year running! Whilst we only came second in the Inness Sword, 2 of our cadets went onto be part of the winning Elworthy Team for the Wing (due to a glitch with ages for participation!) so we have won the Sword for 2 and a quarter of the last 3 years! We also won the Wing Small Bore Target Rifle Competition, and the Wing Aircraft Recognition Competition.
[b:1o1uljuf]Cadets also achieved:[/b:1o1uljuf]
3 Flying Scholarships – FS Cross, FS Burgess, Cdt Filer
7 Gliding Scholarships
Over 30 GIC Gliding Courses
Over 200 flights in Tutor Aircraft
2 Cadet 100 Awards – FS Burgess and CDT Filer
Young Life Saver First Aid Awards
Radio Certificates (Full and Provisional)
Gold, Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards
BTEC’s in Public Service
BTEC’s in Aviation Studies
The Sqns First Junior Leader Award – FS Makins
4 Cadet Leadership Course including a Merit for Sgt Troy
Week Camps in Cyprus, Lyneham, Odiham (flying in Chinooks), Wittering, and Leeming
Week Adventure Training Camps in the Lake District and North Scotland
Bisley Shooting Camp
Visits to RAF Wattisham (including flying in Sea Kings), Holbeach and Benson
Several weekend camps at Crowborough (including the first Wing exercise under the new ACP16 Fieldcraft Regulations and the BTEC approved NCO Cadre)
Corp and Region Band Camps
We also worked with cadets and staff from other Squadrons, including 6F, 12F, 27F, 1838 and 2324 from our Wing and 992 Sqn from Wiltshire Wing.
We also found time for charity and the community. We adopted Haven House Children’s Hospice as our charity, and raised £2000 for them over the year by various means including a Sponsored Abseil in Harlow, as well as helping them out at their shop. Each of the 3 main lines are now sponsoring a Guide Dog each.
Cadets also raised money for charities in the Race for Life (£2000), the Royal Marine Commando Challenge (£1200) and the RAF Benevolent Fund (£2249). The Royal British Legion was also high on our priority list and we raised a record £6200 for them.
We also raised money for ourselves with our first Bag Pack in May and collecting litter at the V Festival in August.
I have missed much out in the cause of brevity. However it can be seen that this was the Squadron’s busiest year in a long time, which is saying something considering how busy we usually are!
Our aims for next year include regaining the Inness Sword, continuing our success in drill and Cross Country, a Sqn camp for 50 cadets in Lincolnshire in October 08 and building on our already high standards of staff and cadets. We also start planning for our foreign expedition for 2009, and most importantly of all working toward the Lees Trophy and gaining the Regional representation and then, perhaps, after many years, the Lees itself?
I would like to close by stating the Sqn never stands still and is always looking for the next challenge whilst reinforcing on our successes. I would like to especially thank the Staff for their outstanding hard work and dedication (and their wives and partners, for without the support of my wife I could not have done half the things that I was able to this year! and I know this is the case with others).
I would like to thank the cadets for their hard work and enthusiasm, as well as some of the more interesting issues we have dealt with, and to the Committee for their hard work in fund raising and providing excellent catering at our events.
I hope you all look forward to next year, and we will work together to make the Squadron better. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!