On Saturday 13th August Central and East Region joined thousands of cadets from around the UK at RAF Cranwell to celebrate 75 years since the Air Training Corps was formed.
The day consisted of a large parade, displays from the Royal Air Force Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Falcons, a brilliant musical extravaganza performed by the best in the Corps and finished by a fantastic fireworks display in the shadow of the college building.
The day started with the amazing review and parade of 350 cadets and staff. Each and every cadet looked brilliant, it was clear that they had spent many hours on their uniform and deportment at the drill and ceremonial camp at Beckingham Training Camp the week before. The parade was led by Wing Commander Tony Kelly RAFVR(T) of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing who looked very proud to be in command of the Corps parade. After the event Wing Commander Tony Kelly said “It has been a great honour and certainly a highlight of my cadet career to have been able to command this historic parade. I’m not sure we will see the likes of it again for a very long time.”.
The parade was watched by many VIP guests from our parent organisation the Royal Air Force which included the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hiller himself a former cadet said this “As a former air cadet, I am thrilled to be here today to help mark a very special moment in the history of the RAF Air Cadets. The commitment and achievement of our air cadets over the last 75 years has been tremendous and today we showcase their talent to the world. The cadets are smart, dedicated and disciplined, representing the next generation of good citizens. I wish each and every one of them good luck for the future whatever they choose to do. As Chief of the Air Staff, it makes me extremely proud to see them in blue uniform – they are outstanding ambassadors for the RAF and for the nation and I commend most highly their tremendous contribution to communities all over the UK.”
Commandant Air Cadets who witnessed the parade said this afterwards “The cadets have been practising their drill and music for weeks and have spent days making sure that their uniform is immaculate and their shoes are shined to perfection. Staff and adult volunteers have worked incredibly hard over the last two years to make this event happen and it’s wonderful to see all the plans coming to fruition on such an amazing scale.”
Honorary Group Captain Carol Vorderman an Ambassador for the Corps said “As Ambassador of the RAF Air Cadets I am delighted to be here at RAF Cranwell to see the flagship parade which marks the 75th anniversary of the organisation. All the cadets did a fantastic job and looked really smart. Wing Commander Tony Kelly at the front of the parade was brilliant.”
Once the formalities were over it was time to relax let the Royal Air Force’s best take over. The BBMF, Red Arrows and the Falcons all put on an amazing display, and it was great to have the college in the background.
In the evening the cadets again took over, with Central and East Region at the helm as three out of the four ensembles were from the region. These included a soulful duet from brother and sister Sgt Emily Pieters and Cdt Yuri Pieters from 1094 (Ely) Squadron, a brilliant soloist FS Heather Stacey from 1406 (Spalding) Squadron and a crowd lifting performance by CWO Natasha Wolfe, FS James Duff, FS James Potter, Cdt Elizabeth Dawe and CI Owen Pittwood of 1085 (Flitwick) Squadron.
Each act during the evening was introduced by Peter Dixon who is best known for his voice over work on X-Factor and Britian’s got talent etc. The evening performances included an amazing Corps choir who rocked the Orange and the Corps Concert Band that finished off the evening with a sparkling fireworks display.
The whole event proved a huge logistical exercise and required effort from many volunteers from all parts of the country, a true team effort. Pulling all the differing strands together was Central and East’s Regional Commandant, Group Captain Nigel Gorman. Making it all happen was a small band of tireless workers, spending many days and hours building up to the Big day and many days and hours afterwards returning the “Orange” to its pristine state. Squadron Leader Nathan Wilkes ably led this small team and he was backed all the way by Squadron Leader Charles Skiera and Warrant Officer “Bird” Giddings and of course, volunteer staff and cadets too numerous to mention but of great importance and without whom, this great Day would not have happened.
The day was action packed and couldn’t have squeezed any more in to celebrate the Corps 75th Anniversary. Here’s to the next 25 years. Venture Adventure