Royal Praise for Air Cadets
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By Flt Lt G G Richards - 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron
Air Cadets from 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron enjoyed Royal praise from Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, at a special ceremony to mark their achievements over the past 12 months.
The ceremony, named Operation Flying Circus, saw the Lord Lieutenant present a number of awards, certificates and qualifications as well as enrol new members onto the squadron.
For three members, the evening was extra special as they received the Certificate for Meritorious Service – a prestigious award which recognises services of outstanding merit that has been rendered beyond the normal demands of duty.
Mrs Maureen Badenoch, 75, of Blyth, Pilot Officer David Anderson, 26, of Killingworth and Cadet Michael Barclay, 17, of Longbenton, received the Certificate for the role they fulfill with the Air Cadet Squadron.
Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, said, “Michael has overcome many challenges and life obstacles from a young age and it is a testament to his determination, resilience and hard work that he has achieved so much with us.”
“I was really surprised when I received the Certificate and to have it presented by the Lord Lieutenant was amazing,” said Michael.
Maureen joined the Civilian Committee in 1981 when girls were first able to join the organisation and she has supported 1000’s of youngsters to achieve over the years.
David, an ex-Longbenton cadet himself, has served for almost 5 years and has assisted in the successful development and implementation of an integrated Training and Development Programme that supports every youngster to achieve internationally recognised qualifications.
HM Lord Lieutenant said, "I have thoroughly enjoyed the evening and am thrilled to see the Squadron continue to achieve.
“I am tremendously proud of the young people who have gained so many skills and clearly enjoy themselves in the process.
“The strong ethos of the squadron is prevalent in all its activities and the young people are all positive examples of good citizens.”
“I also thank the adult volunteers who deliver the training in such a creative way and they too, along with the young people and their families, amplify the strong sense of community and achievement on the Squadron.”
Cadet Daniel Horner, 19, of Longbenton, was awarded the Cadet of the Year Award. "I’ve been an Air Cadet at Longbenton Squadron since I was 13 and I’ve enjoyed every moment.
“The amazing activities I’ve done have helped me grow and focus upon my future but they have been great fun and I’ve really enjoyed my teenage years.”
The youngsters informed of their activities through a short-film entitled ‘Back Two344’ – a mock-take on Back to the Future. The film depicted the variety of activities enjoyed, including flying, climbing, engineering, electronics, sports, archery, and expeditions around the UK and oversees; all of which goes towards numerous internationally recognised qualifications.
If you’re in Year 8 or above and wish to join Longbenton Squadron, please visit www.2344.org.uk for further information.