16th May 2008, Derby
Being the best means beating the rest and that is exactly what CWO Matt Ireland (19) of 126 (City of Derby) Squadron has managed to do by winning the Dacre Sword and having the accolade of being the best Cadet in the country bestowed upon him. This lucrative and competitive award is highly sought after by all 38,000 Air Cadets in the UK.
CWO Ireland has been a Cadet with Derby Squadron for 6 years and has become one of the highest qualified cadets on the unit. Matt has a love of flying and has passed the ATC Hang Gliding course, gained Silver Glider Wings and has been successful in being allocated a Flying Scholarship.
CWO Ireland is an extremely active Cadet. He recently completed the Junior Leader course, the best leadership course open to cadets in the UK. He has represented the South and East Midlands Wing at swimming, athletics and cross country and has gone on to represent the Region at both athletics and cross country. He has taken part in many camps and has been lucky enough to go Nordic Skiing in Germany. Recently Matt has been awarded an IACE place for the USA.
CWO Ireland’s ambition is to join the RAF as an officer and is planning his whole life around achieving this. When he heard about winning the Dacre Sword, CWO Ireland said, “I still can’t believe that I have won the Dacre Sword. It’s a fantastic feeling to be considered the best Cadet in the ATC. I am pleased not only for myself, but also for my Squadron. I think this shows that if you want something enough and work hard, you can achieve anything.”
In 1979, Mrs Elizabeth Dacre MBE TD JP, presented to the ATC the dress sword of her late husband, Air Commodore G B Dacre CBE DSO DL RAF. Since then the sword has been awarded annually to the ATC male cadet of the year. With the advent of girls in 1982, Mrs Dacre presented the ATC with a diamond brooch mounted on a sash, for presentation to the best female cadet.
This year has seen double success for 126 (City of Derby) Squadron as CWO Stephanie Marshall (19) reached the top 6 in the Dacre Brooch competition. CWO Marshall has also been with the squadron for 6 years and has reached an outstanding level of performance. She has a Flying Scholarship and Blue Glider Wings. In the last 12 months she has completed IACE in Singapore and received her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award from HRH Prince Phillip.
Sqn Ldr Ian Marshall, OC 126 Squadron, said, “I am very proud of CWO Ireland and CWO Marshall. Both cadets have excelled in everything I have asked them to do. They are positive, active cadets who are always ready to take up a new challenge. They are a credit to the squadron and to the Air Training Corps.”
Written by – Flying Officer Jackie Barker.