Cadets of the International Air Cadet Exchange in London travelled into the Tower of London for the first time to see the Ceremony of the Keys which is the traditional locking up of the Tower of London and has taken place on each and every night, without fail, for at least 700 years.
The IACE as the exchange is known has been in operation since 1947, however this is the first time that specially selected representatives have been to see this historical event. The visiting youngsters from Turkey, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and the USA were selected because of their strong interest in British history
Zeynep from Turkey was fascinated by the knowledge that the same ceremony had taken place over so many years no matter what the circumstances. She told us, “Our stay in London has been amazing and we have seen so many places and things of interest, however this ceremony was amazing and the memory of it will live with me for many years to come.”
The visitors spent a week in London visiting Westminster, The RAF Club and the Imperial War Museum among many other activities before going on to RAF Cranwell to the spiritual home of the Air Force.
Squadron Leader Alyn Thompson from the 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron who was hosting the visitors in London said of his young charges, “This is the thirteenth year I have assisted with hosting on the International Air Cadet Exchange and our visitors have always proven themselves to be the cream of their various nations who have always been the perfect ambassadors and a pleasure to meet for everyone who crosses their path. The Exchange exists to promote more than a love of aviation. Cadets develop a better perspective on the challenges other countries face. The friendships they make through the Exchange help the world combat hatred and intolerance. Through the Exchange, cadets grow to understand and appreciate the roles different nations play in aerospace, as well as build international understanding, goodwill, and friendship among young people who have a common interest in aviation.”(please see www.iacea.com for details).