National award for Jarrow air cadets squadron which rose from the ashes

Cadets Nathan Benson and Skye Tilson receive the award from Robert Marshall, director of Marshalls of Cambridge Aerospace.
Cadets Nathan Benson and Skye Tilson receive the award from Robert Marshall, director of Marshalls of Cambridge Aerospace.

An air cadets squadron which rose from the ashes after its headquarters were destroyed in an arson attack has been named the most improved in the country.

The unit at 1027 (Jarrow) Squadron ATC lost all of the equipment used to train the cadets in the fire, which happened in 2005.

I am proud of all of the cadets and volunteers, who have worked hard to bring Jarrow squadron back from the ashes

Gary Butler

However, the squadron has fought its way back, and has now been awarded the Marshall Trophy, handed each year to the air cadet squadron which has made the biggest improvements in its training and adminstration over the year.

The Jarrow group was nominated by wing commander Dave Harris, who is the officer commanding the Durham and Northumberland wing, following his annual inspection earlier this year.

Flight Lieutenant Gary Butler, squadron commander, said: “I am proud of all of the cadets and volunteers, who have worked hard to bring Jarrow squadron back from the ashes.”

The unit’s base in Belsfield Gardens, Jarrow, was destroyed 11 years ago in an aron attack. Thousands of pounds of damage was caused.

It moved into its current premises at the Territorial Army HQ in Mill Lane, Hebburn, later that year.

The cadets have taken part in a wide range of activities over the last year.

Among the highlights were learning to fly, representing the UK shooting in Canada, taking part in the Njmegan Marches, jumping out of aeroplanes and achieving Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Mr Harris said: “Winning the Marshall Trophy is an outstanding achievement for a squadron, and is testament to the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers who run the unit.

“I am absolutely delighted that the progress that has been made at Jarrow has been recognised in this way.”

The trophy was presented to the squadron by Robert Marshall in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Sue Winfield, and the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Alan Smith and Coun Moira Smith, along with other dignitaries and parents of the cadets.