Top Squadron Enjoys Celebration!
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By Flt Lt G G Richardson - 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron
The Top Air Cadet Squadron in the UK has enjoyed celebrating the formation of the organisation with its community. The young air cadets were joined by North Tyneside MP, Mary Glindon, to mark the occasion.
The Air Training Corps was formed on 5 February 1941, and this year, the squadron enjoyed celebrating the day as the premier squadron in the UK, after winning the Lees Trophy last year. We reported last summer that the Longbenton youngsters had been officially recognised as the best in the UK and they received their trophy by top officer, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty at a Civic Service held at St Bartholomew’s Church, Benton in October.
“Since being announced as the best squadron, we’ve enjoyed every moment! We can’t enter the competition again this year as the rules don’t let us, so we’ve made the most of it and enjoyed doing so,” explained 14 year-old cadet, George Ferguson, of Forest Hall. “To be back at St Bartholomew’s and receive more qualifications in front of our community is great because they help us to achieve them too,” added George.
The celebratory service saw the presentation of Duke of Edinburgh Awards, three different BTEC Qualifications, Institute of Leadership Management Certificates and also officially welcomed new members to the squadron.
Since winning the Lees Trophy the squadron has paraded at St James’ Park and at The Ashes at Durham County Cricket Club, and has enjoyed dining with the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear.
Mrs Glindon paid tribute to the young people and volunteer staff saying "It is an absolute pleasure and joy to work with and support the young people and adult volunteers at Longbenton Squadron. I too have enjoyed bragging rights in Parliament, particularly as the squadron’s win was a first for North Tyneside. I wish the squadron all the very best for the future and will support it as it continues to move forward in an exciting way."
Squadron Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, said "The past six years have flown-by for me. We have achieved so much and supported so many people within our community that it’s been very fitting to celebrate our Lees success with the community and enjoy every moment of being the best.” “Every bit of individual progress and achievement is a success for the squadron and we will continue to make sustained progress in order to serve our community.” “Although we can’t enter the Lees Trophy competition again this year, I know that Longbenton Squadron will always be capable of winning the trophy because the young people have such a fantastic attitude and work ethic, that will see them earn big achievements and we have an inspirational staff team, that will ensure we deliver qualifications and skills to support and guide our young people into their adult years,” added Gary.
If you’re interested in Longbenton Squadron, then please visit www.2344.org.uk for more information.
For more information please visit the Squadron website