2008 is now nearly over, and it has an historic one for the Sqn as we have finally proved that our motto “one of Many, Second to None” is a true one with our winning the Lees Trophy for 2007 – 08.
This was awarded for the Squadrons work over the last year, but in wider sense it was awarded for the Squadrons efforts over the last 67 years, and is something that all former members of the Squadron can take pride in, having played their part in driving the unit to the top of the pile!
The presentation of the Trophy by the Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Glen Torphy a few weeks ago was a memorable night and one which showed the Squadron off at its best and emphasised why the Air Cadets are the best youth organisation in this country and how young people can take control of their lives in a positive and engaged manner.
A few for the highlights of the year where:
Cadets from the Sqn represented the Wing at the Royal Albert Hall Festival of Remembrance and at the Remembrance Parade at Whitehall, and CWO Caroline Dent carried the Corps Banner at the Albert Hall (as seen on TV!).
Andy Webb passed out of RAF College Cranwell and has started his training as a Fighter Controller, Tommy Rice as an RAF Regiment Gunner and Matt Davies passed out of Sandhurst as a 2nd Lt in the Royal Artillery. Several of our ex cadets in the Armed Forces returned from tours of Afghanistan (Luke Cockles and Tom Henry) and Iraq, and Danny Davies is currently on active service.
Sgt Michelle Cheah passed out as Top Student from her NCO Course and passed her Drill Instructor Course, CI Kristina Pisano was commissioned in the RAFVR(T), CI Dan Goldman was appointed as an Adult Sgt, but CI Ann Coates retired after 20 years of service to the Sqn, but joins the committee where she started! Cpl Geraldine Christie RAFPMNS left us after a year to go back to the Regular RAF for an operational tour, having made her mark on the Sqn. We wish both Ann and Geraldine well in the future.
We won the Innes Sword Competition and then the Elworthy Sword (for the fifth time since 1994), and we also won the Wing Drill Competition for the third year running, the newly instituted Banner Drill Competition, and a honary first in the Junior Drill, and the Cross Country for the 16th year running!
Cadets also achieved:
1 Flying Scholarships; Sgt Sarah Foley
12 Gliding Scholarships (including 3 AGTs)
Over 30 GIC Gliding Courses
Over 180 flights in Tutor Aircraft
Flights in Sea King, Merlins and King Airs
1 Cadet 100 Award: Sgt Reeves-Roberts
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 Second Junior Leader Award – Sgt Fothergill
1 Cadet Leadership Course with a Merit for Sgt Simpole
Parachute Course: FS Sandhu
Marine Air Trust Bursary: CIs Fothergill and Pisano
Region Blues for Rugby and Netball
Week Camps in Germany, Leuchars, St Mawgen and Beckingham
Week Adventure Training Camps in the Lake District and North Scotland
Bisley Shooting Camp
Visits to RAF Wattisham (including flying in Sea Kings) and Cranwell
Several weekend camps at Crowborough
Region Band Camps
CI Pisano visited South Africa for a 2 week visit with CVQO
FS Dent and FS Troy visited Sri Lanka with 344 (Fulham) Sqn
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 continued our work for Haven House Children’s Hospice, and raised £1000 for them over the year by various means, and Cadets also assisted at the Charity’s Summer Ball.
Cadets also raised money for charities including the Royal British Legion was also high on our priority list and we raised over £6000 for them. We have also started working with the local Royal Air Force Association.
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 last year!
Our aims for next year include a defence of the Innes and Drill Competitions and planning for the 2010 Foreign Expedition. We also have new cadets to bring forward and perhaps the most difficult task of all, to maintain our high standards and ethos!
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 without whom nothing happens! (and their wives and partners, who’s support is vital and much appreciated!)
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 even better. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!