News Section

Centre of Leicester Stops for Big Parade

Article posted: Nov 25, 2011 by Sqn Ldr Pass

The busy centre of Leicester was brought to halt as over 300 Air Cadets and supporting staff formed up for a 70th Anniversary Parade through the City.

All the Squadrons of South & East Midlands Wing were represented in the Parade that celebrated 70 years of the Air Training Corps in the City where it all started. Cadets from 1(F) (City of Leicester) Squadron, the first formed, took their place at the head of the column.

“From the Right”; cadets number off for the parade (by Corps Photographer South, Sqn Ldr Phillip Jones)

The Wing had the honour of bearing the Banner of the Air Training Corps proudly through Leicester’s streets, a fitting recognition of City’s role in the Corps formation in 1941.

“ready”; the Parade prepares to march off in the centre of Leicester

Led by the Band of 5(F) (Northampton) Squadron, the mass of cadets passed through the busy Leicester shopping centre crowds who paused to watch as the long column of blue processed towards the Cathedral where a service of celebration was held.

In the Cathedral, the Corps Banner was laid, with due dignity, on the Drum Head by the Dean of Leicester, The Very Reverend Vivienne Faull who welcomed the guests, cadets and staff. The Reverend Peter Hooper, Wing Pardre, gave an entertaining, yet apt address that put the Corps Values into an understandable context. During the Act of Commitment, the Cadets and staff were invited to renew the Promise made when enrolled.

“Banner Dipped”; the Corps Banner is Dipped during the Service (by Corps Photographer South, Sqn Ldr Phillip Jones)

After the Service the Parade reformed for a March Past where the Salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Leicester, Lady Jennifer Gretton, the Station Commander of RAF Wittering (the Wing’s home Station), Group Captain Richard Hill and Wing Commander Nigel Dickinson, Officer Commanding South & East Midlands Wing who commented:
“It is appropriate that on the 70th anniversary of the Corps the Corps Banner should be paraded where it all began – in Leicester with 1F Squadron to the fore. The turnout of the cadets and staff was exceptional and I am very grateful to everyone involved for making this such a tremendous success. I said at the Wing’s 10th anniversary parade that it would be a shame if we waited another 10 years to show what the Wing can do – well we haven’t!”

The Parade was organised by Squadron Leader Sarah Mayho Smith and Officer Commanding 1(F) Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Aimee Hurst. The cadets were put into shape by the Wing Warrant Officer, Rob Phillips who with the Parade Commander, Squadron Leader Andy Pass, had to use the full range of their voices to overcome the noise of a busy City Centre and the length of the Parade that stretched from one end of the Main Street to the other.

By Flt Lt A Munns
S&E Mids Wing MCO