June 2nd 2021

Melton Air Cadets receives The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Cadets Annual Dining In Night 2020

Volunteers and cadets of 1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron at their Annual Dining In Night in January 2020

A group of volunteers based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron is one of over 1,000 squadrons of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC) that offer a wide range of activities, qualifications and opportunities to young people across the country. Squadrons are managed by teams of uniformed and non-uniformed adult volunteers who give their time to help plan, organise and run the array of incredible opportunities that are on offer to young people.


cadets visit of HMS Diamond

Flying Officer Jeremy McHale accompanies cadets on a visit of HMS Diamond

The volunteers of 1279 (Melton Mowbray) take on a variety of roles from instructors to squadron treasurer in order to facilitate the best possible chances to see the young people develop and also to find opportunity to forge links with their local community. Before lockdown set in, the squadron volunteers had clocked up an additional 1330 hours of activities outside of the 5 hours each week that they give. During lockdown, the volunteers of the squadron continued to provide opportunities to keep connected with the young people resulting in the award of over 100 badges, certificates and qualifications for the cadets. With a team of 18 volunteers across the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Civilian Committee, the volunteers go above and beyond to provide the best possible cadet experience for the young people that they work with as well as to ensure great support and links within their local community of Melton Mowbray.


cadets during training session

Flight Sergeant James Marman briefs cadets during a training session

1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron, Royal Air Force Air Cadets, is one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.


Wing Commander Andy Pass RAFAC, Officer Commanding South and East Midlands Wing Royal Air Force Air Cadets, commented, “I am thrilled & delighted that 1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron has been recognised by the award of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.  The Squadron excels in the delivery of the full cadet experience & there is no question that it’s an outstanding RAF Air Cadet unit of the highest order. Their countless achievements & successes is a testament to the shear hard work and commitment of a dedicated group of staff volunteers and civilian committee members serving the needs of an enthusiastic & motivated group of Air Cadets from across Leicestershire. Of significant mention is the Squadron’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following suspension of all face-to-face cadet activity, the Squadron was a leading force nationally in the implantation of online activity by running Virtual Parade Nights.”


Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Logo

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Logo

Representatives of 1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron will receive the award crystal and certificate from Mr Mike Kapur, OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from the group will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Find out how you can become a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer.