Sunday 10th July 2016 saw over 300 staff and cadets of South and East Midlands Wing gathered in Leicester City centre to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Air Training Corps, which was formed on the 5th February 1941 with 1F (City of Leicester) Squadron. The Wing is made up of 29 Squadrons from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.
The parade was organised by Wing Warrant Officer Dan Haywood and Squadron Leader Mark Richards RAFVR with representatives of the 29 Squadrons that form the Wing. Each one paraded their Squadron banner and the parade was led by the band of 5F (Northampton) Squadron. The Wing Banner was carried and escorted by Cadet Warrant Officers from around the Wing.
Cadet Warrant Officer Oliver Kirk, 1360 (Stapleford & Sandiacre) Squadron proudly carried the Wing Banner, with Cadet Warrant Officer Jade Cox (also 1360), Cadet Warrant Officer Jinni Sur, 1461 (Wigston) Squadron and Cadet Warrant Officer Damien Simpson, 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron escorting.
The cadets gathered at Humberstone Gate where the parade would march off from enroute to their destination of Leicester Cathedral. Along the route, Officer Commanding South and East Midlands Wing, Wing Commander Nigel Dickinson OBE RAFVR , was joined by Lady Gretton, The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire who was accompanied by Cadet Warrant Officer Jack Webb-Macleod on the Dias to take the salute.
The parade made for a very impressive sight as it marched just over 0.5 miles along High Street before arriving at the Cathedral. This was the first time the full format of Wing Drill has been carried out and was enjoyed by many members of the public out shopping who stopped to watch and pass on very many compliments.
Upon arrival at the Cathedral the Squadron banners formed a Guard of Honour outside as cadets and guests entered. A Drum Head was formed at the altar by other Cadet Warrant Officers from around the Wing, Tom Clamp, Lauren Priest, Maddie Mackay, Joseph Samuels-Hammond and Lauren Ashby. The Wing Banner was proudly laid across the Drum Head before the service began.
The service was led by Wing Padre John Hewer and also saw many members of the public come in to join the service. A moving service saw cadets from across the Wing lead some of the prayers with a reading by Wing Commander Dickinson and a fascinating sermon from The Revd Canon Dr Johannes Arens. The service concluded with a passionately sung National Anthem.
Following the service, the Wing gathered outside the Cathedral for a photo of the whole Wing, which was taken from the roof.
Wing Commander Nigel Dickinson OBE RAFVR said of the day “it was a fitting day to mark the 75th Anniversary of the ATC in the July sunshine and in the City where it all began. My thanks to all involved in making this event happen and yet again showcasing South & East Midlands Wing.