Air Cadets from Longbenton were joined by over 300 people as they celebrated the formation of the youth organisation and 100 years of the Royal Air Force.
The commemorative celebrations were held to mark the 77th anniversary of the formation of the Air Training Corps (ATC), along with the RAF’s centenary, at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Benton.
Celebrations began with North Tyneside MP, Mary Glindon, presenting the young people with BTEC qualifications, STEM qualifications and Duke of Edinburgh Awards and 21 cadets were officially enrolled.
“We do lots of different activities like flying, climbing, sports, leadership and STEM, which are great fun and help us learn new skills, gain new knowledge and achieve qualifications, so it’s great to have these presented in public,” said Leo Allan, 14.
Mrs Glindon told the young people, their families and community members, “I always look forward to visiting Longbenton Squadron as it’s one of my highlights. I enjoy celebrating the achievements of the young people, who have shown dedication and commitment in order to achieve.
“I’m always telling people about the Squadron and the work and accomplishments of its young people and volunteer staff. The community are proud of the Squadron, as is the whole of North Tyneside,” added Mrs Glindon.
The young air cadets went on to lead a service through presenting a tribute to the RAF.
Cadet Mary Delariarte, 15, explains, “We entered a competition, run by RAF Boulmer, to write about the RAF in as close to 100 words as possible. We joined our words together to create a short inspirational piece, which we performed in the service, to celebrate and commemorate the history of the RAF and look forward to its next 100 years.”
Squadron Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, said, “ATC Sunday is a time when we celebrate what we do and it’s therefore enjoyable to focus on the successes of our young people. To link this in to RAF100, offered an opportunity for our community to come together to play an exciting and historic part in a national project at a local level. I am tremendously proud of our young people, who led the event with confidence, pride and precision,” said Gary.
The cadets will soon find out how they did in the RAF100 Words competition and will take part in many RAF100 themed events this year, in addition to their usual activities.
The Squadron is currently open to new members in Year 8 and above. If you’re up for a challenge then visit www.2344.org.uk