Wideopen Air Cadets Inspected by Top Boss
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By Flt Lt James Elliott - 861 (Wideopen) Squadron
861 (Wideopen) Squadron has been inspected by the head of the Air Cadet Organisation, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty RAFR, for the final phase of the prestigious Sir Alan Lees Trophy competition, the search for the top performing squadron in the UK.
The squadron, whose cadets live in and around Wideopen has already been identified as the top performing Squadron in the North of England after a regional inspection in March. This represents a huge achievement for the unit which has grown in size considerably over recent years, now fielding a strength approaching 50 and giving its young people aged 12-19 a wider range of opportunities such as flying, gliding, shooting and adventure training than ever before.
Air Commodore McCafferty inspected 861 on Monday 1st June 2015 for the final phase of the competition. The Commandant complimented the Cadets on their turnout, enthusiasm and the work of the volunteer adult staff who give up so much of their free time.
The event was attended by local residents, proud parents and representatives from local agencies who have supported the Squadron over the qualifying year. For making it into the top 6 the unit has received £1000, and with the winning squadron due to receive 10 gliding scholarships all fingers are crossed!
Squadron Commander, Flight Lieutenant James Elliott, said: “I am so incredibly proud of 861 and all of its cadets and staff. We began this journey in 2010 when the Squadron was a very different place and we have come such a long way to be recognised as the top Squadron in the north of England. It was a real thrill to host the Commandant Air Cadets for the evening and we had a fantastic time showing off the Squadron to her”.
If you want to join the premier Air Cadet Squadron in the North of England, 861 (Wideopen) Squadron is recruiting now and is open to new entrants aged 12 (must be in Year 8 at school) to 17 years. If you are interested in finding out more, please visit the Squadrons website at www.861sqn.org or search “861 (Wideopen) Squadron ATC” on Facebook to see what the cadets are getting up to right now!