South Shields air cadets take on Mayor’s Award

Members of 324 Squadron South Shields with Mayor Councillor Alan Smith and Councillor Moira Smith.
Members of 324 Squadron South Shields with Mayor Councillor Alan Smith and Councillor Moira Smith.

The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside visited a young people’s organisation to launch the Mayor’s Award Scheme – the precursor for younger cadets before they tackle the Duke of Edinburgh Award once they are 13.

The civic dignitaries, councillors Alan Smith and Moira Smith spent more than two hours with the 324 Squadron (South Shields), joining in a number of activities in the process.

The Mayor’s Award sees participants take part in a variety of activities including a physical challenge, a service, a skill and an expedition at either bronze, silver or gold level.

Squadron Adjutant James Hughes said: “We are very lucky to have a team of people who are geared to making the Duke of Edinburgh Award experience the most positive and fun that it can be, and given that all the staff work as one to make this happen we are very proud of the achievements of the young people in the past year.

“The Mayor’s Award is a great scheme for our younger cadets and we can’t wait to get started on it. We also want to thank South Tyneside Council for all the help and support they have given us in setting this up.”

Flt Lt Teresa Harris RAFVR(T), said: “I’m very proud of all the adventure training and Duke of Edinburgh achievements on the Squadron in the past year. 324 Squadron achieved the most awards in the whole of DurhamNorthumberland Wing, and that’s no small achievement – 16 bronze, four silver and two gold.

“I wish to thank all the staff who make this happen, and special mention to Sgt (ATC) Emily Sleightholme and Sgt (ATC) Gary Gough, who do tremendous work in making sure as many achieve the awards as is possible.”

“Bringing on board the Mayors Award will only give us greater scope for including the younger members of our Squadron, and it gives a great sense of preparation and training for those moving on to Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

“The visit by the Mayor was a real boost for cadets and staff and gave an opportunity for the Mayoress and him to see first hand the range of activities on offer at our Squadron.

“I’m so pleased with success the Squadron is currently having, this year marks 75 years since the ATC was formed and we really do keep going from strength to strength.”

324 (South Shields) Squadron is open Monday and Friday 7pm to 9.30pm.

Anybody in School Year 8 and above are more than welcome to join or email 324@aircadets.org.uk for further information.

Adjutant Hughes added: “In addition to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, our cadets take part in so many community events representing the ATC / RAF.

“All our cadets to get the opportunity to go flying (at RAF Leeming) are involved in archery, shooting, adventure training and sports, as well as the opportunity to achieve BTEC qualifications in a range of subjects.

“During summer and Easter holidays, cadets can also experience a week’s camp at an operational RAF Base, some cadets this past year have attended camps at RAF bases abroad in Cyprus and Gibraltar, and of course the cadets represent the RAF at all remembrance parades.

“Sometimes its hard to keep pace of all the activities we offer, but I would thoroughly recommend it to anybody.”