Reserve Forces and Cadets Association
for North of England

An Air Cadet Officer has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to education. Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, 35, received his recognition at a special event held at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Gary, the Officer Commanding of 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron, has given his time to guide and support over 500 young people to earn BTEC qualifications in the RAF Air Cadets. In recognition of his volunteering, the qualification awarding body, CVQO, thanked and honoured Gary, along with a small number of other volunteers who have made a significant contribution to cadet learners across the country.

CVQO Chief Executive Guy Horridge said: “In many ways, the adult volunteers in the cadet organisations are the unsung heroes who are dedicated to making sure that young people have that extra chance in life.

In addition, they are all fantastic ambassadors for CVQO, guiding cadets through their qualifications and helping them to take all the advantages available to them.

Therefore it is right and proper that they are no longer unsung heroes, but rather sung heroes.”

Gary also received his City and Guilds Level 7 Leadership and Management qualification – the equivalent to a Masters Degree – at the ceremony. Completion of the award involved writing a reflective account to demonstrate competency in each of the six main performance criteria, evidencing strategic leadership and management skills.

Gary said: “To be recognsied by CVQO in this way was a lovely surprise. Commanding Longbenton Squadron is an absolute privilege and working with dedicated, committed and enthusiastic young people and adult volunteers makes learning fun.

To have the opportunity to help young people make the best of their lives and adult volunteers progress in their chosen career paths is very rewarding and I would suggest, is essential for our community and country to succeed.”

If you’re in Year 8 or above and wish to join Longbenton Squadron, or wish to volunteer, please visit for further information.

Outstanding Recognition - Flt Lt Gary Richardson receives his award from the Lord LingfieldFlt_Lt_Richardson_instructing