South West Region


Text and photograph via Sqn Ldr Chris Breward, Sector Commander, Thames Valley Wing Air Cadet Squadrons the country over celebrated the RAF Air Cadets’ 75th anniversary on Sunday. For 2121 (Abingdon) Squadron, based in Oxfordshire, their parade from Dalton Barracks to Shippon Church was a celebration of generations. Forming the 42 cadet-strong parade were cadets of all generations, including those from from 2507 (Bicester) Squadron. The salute was taken by Wing Commander Mike Westwood, a former Abingdon Air Cadet who is now the squadron's President. Having joined the squadron at 13 years old, Mike join the RAF in 1962 as a pilot, retiring in 2001. He continues to support the organisation and his former squadron.  Until 2010, as a pilot with the Air Experience Flight at RAF Benson, Mike flew countless cadets to give them their first tastes of aviation. About the Air cadet organisation, Mike says ..... “With all the distractions in the world, it's gratifying to find so many young people want to put on their uniform, turn up twice per week, and enjoy a disciplined youth organisation. This experience will set them up for life.” Wing Commander Westwood was joined in cutting a celebratory 75th anniversary cake by the parade's youngest cadet,  Cadet James. Cdt James told all ..... “I like everything about the Air Cadets. I’ve made new friends as well as being able to hang out with my existing ones that joined with me.  Wearing a uniform makes me very proud and has raised my self-esteem." The icing on that cake, however, was Cadet Warrant Officer Alec Gibb from Bicester Squadron as lead drummer on his final public parade as an Air Cadet. At 19 years and 9 months old, Alec will soon leave Air Cadets.  But this won’t be his last engagement with the organisation. Just like Wing Commander Westwood, he has set his sights on a career as a pilot in the RAF, vows to keep in touch with the many friends he has made as an Air Cadet, and hopes to be back for the 100th anniversary. ENDS Photograph Wing Commander Mike Westwood and Cdt James cut the 75th anniversary cake. TVW1602~4A@07Feb16

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