Longbenton Air Cadets Celebrate Double Anniversary!
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By Flt Lt G G Richards - 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron
North Tyneside MP, Mary Glindon, flew in to join air cadets from 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron for a double celebration - The Longbenton Squadron’s 60th anniversary and also the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets.
The Longbenton youngsters – who are situated on the site of Second World War base RAF Longbenton, which protected the North-East's skies until its closure in 1963 when RAF Boulmer opened – celebrated by being presented with BTEC Qualifications, Duke of Edinburgh's Awards, Communication Operator Awards and officially enrolling new members.
Mrs Glindon MP presented the various and many accolades. She said; “One of the honours of being MP for North Tyneside has been supporting the work of 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron.”
For 13-year old, Ethan Stewart, of Longbenton, he was officially enrolled by Second World War Bomber Command veteran, Bill Atkinson, 96, of Benton. Bill, who has been honoured with the Defence Flying Cross welcomed Ethan on to the Squadron.
Mrs. Glindon added, “I continue to be impressed by the achievements of its young people and volunteer staff, who show exceptionally high standards, a strong work ethic and an enjoyment for what they do.
“For 60 years the Squadron has influenced so many young lives and given continued support to our young people so they can develop skills and knowledge and enjoy a whole host of opportunities.
“I can only say thank you to all those involved and wish the Squadron continued success,” said Mrs Glindon.
Cadet Jordon Workman, 17, who received his BTEC First Diploma in Music said, “I really enjoy being at Longbenton Squadron because the activities we do are always fun and out of the ordinary.
"We all enjoy different activities and gaining different skills and qualifications; there really is something for everyone,” added the Longbenton youngster.
Squadron Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, said “I am delighted that Mrs Glindon has joined us to celebrate our anniversary.
“The squadron has played an important role in our community for 60 years and I am delighted that we have begun our year long celebrations with the presentation of numerous qualifications that show case the talent that our young people have.”
Following the service a special showing of the documentary ‘Longbenton Squadron: A Diamond Legacy,’ which explores how the squadron has changed and developed over the decades, was shown.
2016 marks 75 years since the air cadet movement first began in order to train young men to fly and maintain aircraft during the Second World War as well as make ammunition belts and sandbags.
Today’s air cadet organisation is quite different, having evolved into a unique voluntary youth organisation, offering young people opportunities to develop themselves, try new adventures and activities, and learn key lessons in citizenship and the importance of society.
The short documentary will be available to the public in the coming weeks. For a preview, please visit https://youtu.be/BMKsubCcZtY.
Longbenton Squadron is currently open to new members in Year 8 and above. If you’re up for a challenge then visit squadron at www.2344.org.uk.