August 18th 2016

Air Cadets’ 75th anniversary celebrations hit new heights in the East Midlands

The Air Cadet Organisation's National Choir including Cadet Flight Sergeant Rebecca Mabbutt.

2016 has been a special year for the RAF Air Cadets as they celebrate the organisation’s 75th anniversary – and cadets and volunteers from the East Midlands joined the 5,000 at RAF College Cranwell last weekend for a spectacular showcase.

Honourary Group Captain and TV presenter Carol Vorderman was the guest of honour at the flagship celebration on Saturday 13 August alongside the new Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stephen Hillier.

They joined the cadets and volunteers in watching the drills and exhibitions on show which included a flypast by the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Cadets who contributed to the special occasion also took part in a week long drill and ceremonial camp in preparation.

Among the attendees were Cadet Sergeant Kamila Bell, Cadet Corporal (Cdt Cpl) Eleanor Walvin and Cdt Cpl Natalie Bristow from 422 (Corby) Squadron.

Cadet Sergeant Hannah Eden of 422 Corby Squadron.

Cadet Sergeant Hannah Eden of 422 (Corby) Squadron.

Cdt Cpl Walvin said: “This year’s drill and ceremonial camp was a superb experience with such a range of amazing activities that were fun and enjoyable. The drill aspect was also great and a lot of hard work but it all paid off to be on that parade at the end. The event was brilliant and something I will never forget.”

Cadet Sergeant Hannah Eden, who formed part of the Air Cadet Organisation National Marching Band, even managed to get one of the squadron’s brand new drums on the parade.

She said: “Summer camp with the National Marching Band was yet again an amazing experience, topped off by the splendid extravaganza at Cranwell. The whole event was pieced together perfectly and I am immensely proud to have been a part of it.”

Singing with the Air Cadet Organisation National Choir, Cadet Flight Sergeant Rebecca Mabbutt spent the run up to the event practicing with the other cadets of the choir and even managed to rehearse with the RAF Coningsby Military Wives Choir.

However, 422 (Corby) Squadron’s involvement didn’t stop there.

On the day of the celebrations, Cadet Kimberley Samuels-Hammond and Cadet Joseph Curry; joined by Cadet Flying Officer Paul Ferguson, assisted with the escorting of the VIPs at the event.

422 (Corby) Squadron Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Kev Ritchie, said: “What a fantastic day it was. The cadets and staff of the Squadron should all be extremely proud of the part they played in the celebrations, from escorting VIPs to parading on the Orange.

“It’s not often that historic moments like this come along and it’s great that cadets and staff from 422 (Corby) Squadron were a part of that magic.”

Cadet Flight Sergeant Nathan Moffatt of the 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron was one of six cadets invited to attend dinner with ACM Sir Stephen as part of the celebrations.

Members from the South and East Midlands Wing perform a continuous drill display for 7.5 hours.

Members from the South and East Midlands Wing performed a continuous drill display for 7.5 hours.

He said: “It was an incredible privilege to have been invited by the Chief of Air Staff for dinner and I enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was an occasion that I won’t forget in my cadet career and a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The evening was rounded off with a spectacular firework display outside College Hall, which Trent Wing videoed and which provided the perfect finale to an historic day.

  • The 75th anniversary celebrations are also going around the country via a torch relay, which visited Leicester prior the celebrations at RAF College Cranwell thanks to the members of the South and East Midlands Wing.

Over seven weeks the torch is passing through all six regions and 36 wings of the corps.

South and East Midlands Wing received it from Warwick and Birmingham Wing at Bruntingthorpe by Cadet Warrant Officer Saffron Green from 2418 (Sherwood) Squadron before making its way into Leicester to Jubilee Square.

Wing Warrant Officer (WWO) Dan Haywood came up with the idea to continuously carry out a drill routine for 7.5 hours in Jubilee Square with the torch and at the same time have cadets scale a climbing wall erected there for the same duration. A 60 strong team of cadets took part during the day supported by staff from across the wing.

1F (Leicester) Squadron with the torch.

1F (Leicester) Squadron.

Whilst in Leicester, the torch also went on a tour visiting the home of current Premier League champions Leicester City FC, Leicester Cathedral as well as the tomb of King Richard III and BBC Radio Leicester on which Squadron Leader Julie Rayson-Flynn RAFVR(T) was interviewed by Lukwesa Burak.

The torch stopped overnight at 1F (City of Leicester) Squadron who were the first squadron established on the formation of the corps in 1941. The F stands for founder and was allocated to the first 50 squadrons established in the corps.

The next morning the torch made its way to the wing’s second founder squadron, 5F (Northampton). After an excellent drum led ceremony, the torch was handed over to Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing to continue its journey.

WWO Haywood said: “I think our time with the torch has achieved exactly what we wanted.

“I would like to thank all cadets, staff and external organisations who supported us in our challenge and especially Corporal Molly Henson as the lead Project Officer on a great effort.”

"The whole event was pieced together perfectly and I am immensely proud to have been a part of it.”