9 air cadets and 1 staff member of 1181 (Syston) Squadron, Air Training Corps, recently took up the challenge to join with other air cadets from across the country to show their support to Comic Relief 2013. After hearing that BBC Blue Peter daredevil presenter, Helen Skelton, was looking for support in a challenge for Comic Relief involving the world renowned Red Arrows, the cadets leapt at the chance to be a part of what was to be a spectacular day!
The group of air cadets from Syston, arrived at RAF College Cranwell early on Tuesday 12th February and, along with 400 other air cadets, waited to hear what their challenge was to be. Whilst they waited, the 400 air cadets and their staff were treated to performances from 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron band resulting in some sing along songs and then to make sure everybody was full of energy there was some dancing, group challenges and mexican waves!
After getting full of energy, the staff and air cadets were welcomed by Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, Commandant Air Cadets. She praised all the air cadets and staff, thanking them for their enthusiasm and showing such great support to the project to support Comic Relief. The crew from the BBC explained that Helen was taking part in 7 different challenges to inspire people across the country to do something to help raise money for Comic Relief. Helen’s challenge was to fly with the Red Arrows and give the order to ‘Smoke on’, the order that tells the Red Arrows pilots to turn on their smoke that helps provide their iconic displays. The air cadets were going to be on the ground to form the letters RND that would be filmed from the air by the Red Arrows as they flew overhead.
After Helen had interviewed some of the young people, they all moved to outside College Hall Officers Mess at RAF College Cranwell to form the letters that would be filmed from the air. Despite the snow and very cold conditions outside, everybody cheered and displayed massive grins as they were treated to a display and flypast by the Red Arrows – with Helen flying in Red 1.
12 lucky cadets out of the 400 were selected to escort Helen into the aircraft and speak to her about their experiences as a part of the Air Cadet Organisation. Cadet Corporal George Sutton (aged 15), was one of the lucky 12. He said, “Another fantastic day! It was a great experience! Being chosen to represent 1181 in the guard of honour for Helen Skelton as she entered the tarmac to the aircraft was a huge privilege! Getting to meet the Red Arrows and represent the air cadets on TV was brilliant. Being involved in a video for Red Nose Day is rewarding in itself as it is helping many people, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the air cadet staff who give up their time for events like this and especially Pilot Officer McGlynn on behalf of all the squadron for organising our squadron so we could be involved!”
By Flt Lt Andrew Kenyon
OC 1181 (Syston) Sqn ATC