June 16th 2017

Salute to the fathers

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Adrian Utting is pictured with sons Joseph (left) and Ashley (right)

Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads in the cadets and Reserve Forces.

Sharing a common interest can strengthen the bond between sons, daughters and their fathers and there are plenty of examples of those in the cadets.

Squadron Leader Adrian Utting is based at South and East Midlands Wing Air Training Corps (ATC) headquarters and is a Wing Staff Officer with five squadrons as well as a Wing Radio Officer for 29 units in Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire.

After being a cadet himself, the now 47-year-old has watched his sons Ashley and Joseph progress through the same journey he took.

Ashley, aged 17, is with 1947 (Birstall) Squadron while 13-year-old Joseph followed school friends to be a part of 2502 (Hamilton) Squadron.

Adrian said: “I joined as a cadet in 1982 as my uncle was also a cadet interested in the activities they take part in like flying.

“I progressed through the ranks to Cadet Warrant Officer and in 1992 I was commissioned into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Training Branch.

“Now it’s great seeing my sons developing as cadets.

“We all know the boundary of when I am dad or working as an adult volunteer with the cadets. I’ve been on camp with 300 cadets and my son has been there, but I can see what he does from a distance without me being directly involved.

“It does help with my role that my wife was a cadet adult volunteer before we had children so we have all been involved with the ATC. It’s not just me on cadet duty at weekends but now me and my sons.

“It’s good that we all share the same hobby and interest.”

On many occasions children can inspire their dad to get involved with cadets as an adult volunteer.

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Barry Singleton with daughter Alana and son Findley

Long Eaton Sea Cadets’ Commanding Officer, Barry Singleton now oversees daughter Alana, aged 15 and son Findley, aged 13 at Training Ship Indomitable.

Barry explains: “My daughter Alana started initially as a junior, followed by Findlay. I was the usual parent, taking them and collecting them from the unit or to and from boating or other activities.

“I was a cadet at the same unit before joining the Navy and I really wanted to be a part of the cadet family again, giving something back that the Sea Cadets Corps instilled in me when I was young.

“I really do feel that if it hadn’t been for the cadets in my younger life, I probably wouldn’t have had the career that I have had so far.

“I spoke to the kids, asked them how they felt about me becoming an adult volunteer and got the usual ‘dad, do you have to?’

“After the initial shock everything has worked out very well.

“It’s been amazing to see them grow from young junior cadets through to cadets, advancing in their skills and promotions.

“I burst with pride when I see them achieve something, either a qualification, winning a race, standing on parade.

“I don’t think any parent could be more prouder, in fact I get a little emotional at times. It’s wonderful to see them taking part in something that is so important to them and I know will benefit them in later life.

“Both of them say that they enjoy the fact that I am there and that I have gone from a non-uniformed instructor up to an officer in charge. It’s been a tough task but one that is rewarding and satisfying.

“They are pleased to see me happy doing something that I get an immense sense of enjoyment and satisfaction from.

“It’s fantastic to have a family that all share the love of the Sea Cadets and as a bonus, I spend a lot more time with both my kids.”

“They are pleased to see me happy doing something that I get an immense sense of enjoyment and satisfaction from."