Sunday 8th September 2013 saw one of the most important events in 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) calendar, their annual open day, become one of the most successful events in recent years.
It is believed that our annual open day has been very well publicised this year, through a Radio Interview on BBC Radio Derby, articles printed in the Burton Mail Newspaper and also through press releases which have appeared on our Squadron Website, Facebook & Twitter page as well as on the South and East Midlands Wing Website and the East Midlands Reserve and Cadet Forces website, which contributed to a large number of the Cadets friends and family members, residents of Swadlincote and further afield flock too our Squadron Headquarters on Eureka Park to find out a bit more information of what the Air Cadets in Swadlincote do as one of the most successful Air Cadet Squadrons in the South and East Midlands area. The Open Day was also attended by many special guests, including officers and members of staff from local Squadrons, namely 126 City Of Derby Squadron Air Training Corps and the MP of South Derbyshire, Heather Wheeler who were interested to find out what the Air Cadets of Swadlincote enjoy doing in their spare time.
Speaking to Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Alyn Thompson, Squadron Commander of 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron ATC in the days following the event he says: “This years open day has been one of the most successful which has been as a result of all the hard work, commitment and dedication of the Cadets and members of the staff of the unit alike. I am very proud of all the achievements the cadets have had the opportunity to gain over the last 12 months. This year has saw cadets attend overseas camps in Canada, Singapore, Gibraltar, achieve Gliding Scholarships, BTEC Qualifications, climb Mt Snowdon, alongside gaining Marksmanship badges through attending adventure training camps in the UK which have included a Llanbedr camp in Wales.”
Throughout the open day, there were many displays and demonstrations the cadets and members of staff saw themselves taking part in. The Squadron Support team were out in force, which saw them being in charge of a BBQ, Raffles and Tombola’s and many other stands which included “Guess how many sweets are in the Jar” competitions. As there are so many excellent cadets that make up 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron they are all split up into 4 Squadron Flights/Groups depending on age and ability, and as such were each also responsible for their own display or activity which saw, a recruitment stand to encourage prospective new cadets and adult volunteers to come and find out more information on how to join our Squadron, a Mount Snowdon treasure map which our own A Flight, led by our very own Cadet Flight Sergeant (FS) Brad Tallett (18) were responsible for as earlier this year they visited Wales and were successful within their aim of conquering Mount Snowdon, there was also a “Beat the Goalie” and a Nerf shooting range event run by the remaining flights of the Squadron. The main events of the day, also saw our most recent Training Flight take part in a passing out parade which saw them memorise their Cadet Oath in front of proud family and friends, members of the council and Flt Lt Alyn Thompson, which means they are now official members of the Air Training Corps. Our Drill Team, who recently came a strong 6th place out of 29 other Squadrons around the South and East Midlands area in our Wing Field Day competition, also took part in a Drill Display which saw them march the same sequence that was required of them during the competition, along with our continuity drill team display which was led by Cadet Warrant Officer Charlie Hughes (19). Our continuity drill team carried out a drill sequence that has taken months of preparation where there was only one drill command given throughout the whole 5 minute sequence which encourages the cadets to work well as part of a team as well as use initiative too work hard as individuals also.
On the day there were also information desks on the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, which Adult Sergeant Robert Charlesworth is in charge of on our Unit alongside one of our Civilian Instructors. The last 12 months has saw over 15 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards achieved by our current cadets and also 8 ex cadets and instructors travel to London to collect their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. There was also an information desk dedicated too CVQO which is an organisation which runs alongside all of the Cadet Forces enabling the Air Cadets of 1211 Swadlincote Squadron to achieve BTEC Qualifications in Public Services and Music and ILM Level 3 Qualifications In Leadership.
Later on in the day, also saw displays and demonstrations take place from our Squadron Band and Corps of Drums led by Pilot Officer Matt Leedham and also a demonstration by our Squadrons fieldcraft team. The day also ended on a high note with a tug of war competition between the cadets and their parents, which saw the parents of the cadets win 2 out of the 3 rounds.
1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron looks forward to continuing their hard work and going from strength to strength over the next 12 months and over the next few weeks plans on doing so by a group of cadets visiting Westminster Abbey in London to attend a Battle of Britain memorial service and winning our Swimming competition against other cadets from around the South and East Midlands area later on this month.