This year 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron was invited to attend the annual Streetly Christmas Market at WM Wheat & Son Garden Centre. This was a chance for 487 Sqn to have a bit of Christmas fun and raise some much needed funds. There was also the opportunity to do a bit of recruitment for the next intake in February 2016. The market has been going some years and raises thousands of £££££s for worthy local and national charities.
Cadets and staff were tasked with manning the 487 Sqn stall, to raise funds for the Squadron and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Tracy Marsh of the RAFBF provided boxes full of goodies to sell on their behalf.
In order to also assist the organisers, a contingent of cadets also manned the Christmas Grotto, guiding expectant youngsters and their parents in the direction of Father Christmas and generally acting as Santa’s Little Helpers, all dressed in festive costume.
At the end of a long day, we were delighted to learn that the Squadron had raised £ 350 for itself and £ 80 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, which was presented to Tracy Marsh of the RAFBF, at the following weeks parade at Kingstanding.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487 Sqn, commented “This was a good opportunity to showcase the Squadron locally, to attract potential recruits, raise finds and to have a bit of fun, clearly the Cadets enjoyed themselves. The market was bigger than I thought it would be, and clearly much preparation had gone into the whole affair. A great big thank you to Civilian Instructor Lisa Wilkes, who was a major part of the market organising committee as well as liaising with the Squadron to ensure all went smoothly
The day started early for Staff and Cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron; assembling at 08.30 at the Squadron, for what, in recent years, has become a regular practice. The Squadron laid a wreath at the Kingstanding memorial, within the TA Centre. Cadet Madonna Jonhera laid the 487 Sqn wreath to the memory of the Army Reserve fallen. Sgt Chloe Cusack recited the verse from Robert Binyon’s poem for the fallen.
By 09.30 we were in the city centre where we were joined by 2504 Squadron to represent the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing, at the Royal British Legion Armistice Day Parade in Birmingham’s Centenary Square.
The Air Cadet contingent formed up in Broad Street awaiting the Parade march-off instructions. November, not noted for its warm weather, and the gusting wind around the high buildings of the area made for a chilly delay. The buildings also shielding us from the low winter sun.
Wing Staff Officers, Squadron Leaders Bob Foster and Neil Watson were in charge on the day, and at the appointed time led the ATC contingent, towards Centenary Square and the thousands of spectators who had come into town to pay their respects to the fallen.
The temperature in the sunshine and out of the swirling winds was considerably warmer and most pleasant, allowing those on parade to concentrate on the occasion. When all the uniformed sections were formed up, the veterans marched onto the front of the parade, led by the Royal British Legion Standard Bearer Party, including Cadet Holly Daly who carried the 487 Squadron Banner.
Following the prayers and hymns, the wreaths were laid, including that of the Air Training Corps, laid by Wing Commander Stuart Iles, OC Warks & B’ham Wing. Then came the time to march off, in the direction of the Hall of Memory where the saluting dais was situated. Again led by the RBL Banner Party, every contingent was roundly applauded as they marched past, the people of Birmingham were generous and didn’t let up until the last party had passed by.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487 Sqn, commented “Once again the Cadets from 487 Squadron have demonstrated their commitment to the annual remembrance parade. They are the smartest of cadets and are proud to wear the uniform on these occasions, they richly deserved the appreciation of the crowds as they marched onto the Square and again marching off – this never fails to bring a lump to the throat.”
As usual, the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal was a busy period for 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron. The Squadron collected in the City centre over two weekends and sent 22 cadets and two staff to the Birmingham City Football Ground for the game v local rivals the Wolves.
The Squadron managed to raise nearly £ 2,500 in the city centre. The figure collected at the Blues game is not yet available, but again, based on last year’s total, will be several thousands of pounds.
The weather forecast was mixed, meaning that we had to prepare for rain and uncommonly warm November days.
The first stint of collecting was at the St Andrews stadium on Saturday 31st October. The next day in the city centre and a third session in the city on the following Saturday, 7th November. With the Parade on Sunday the 8th there was little time to spare. Credit is due to the cadets and staff who collected on all three dates. Indeed with the Parade, they gave up two full weekends for no reward and deserve praise. Who says kids don’t understand the meaning and relevance of the poppy and the Remembrance Day parade.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, reflected on the events,
“Having written about the poppy appeals for a number of years for the Sqn website, it is difficult to think of anything new to record. So, all I can do is repeat the impressions of previous years; the generosity of the general public, the overall impression Air Cadets have on them and the comments received about cadets, make me truly proud to be involved in the Air Cadet movement and the Poppy Appeal”.
In what, for a number of years now, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, took part in the annual Church service of the Birmingham Air Raids Remembrance Association, held in St Martins Church in the Bull Ring. The Parade took place on Saturday 19th September.
The 487 cadets were joined with cadets from 165 Sqn, who have also attended the Service for many years. Both Sqns were invited to bring their respective banners for the service.
Cadets from both units took part at the memorial adjacent the church, presenting wreathes to the civic dignitaries and members of BARRA for laying in memory of those killed during the raids in World War Two. The memorial was designed by Lorenzo Quinn the son of actor Anthony Quinn.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill added, “Staff and cadets have attended the annual service and parade for a number of years now and we consider it an honour to be allowed to represent the Air Cadet Movement in such a public setting”.
We learned, with great sadness, recently of the passing of Flt Lt Ted Willetts. Ted was an ex-Squadron Commander of 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron and will be missed by his family and friends.
Ted joined 487 Sqn in 1946 as a 14 year old lad. He later joined the RAF Regiment to do his National Service, initially for the standard two years, but voluntarily extending his service for another three. One of the special moments of his time with the RAF was acting as one of the Guards at Westminster Abbey, during the Coronation of the Queen in 1953.
Following his National Service, Ted re-joined 487 Sqn, eventually becoming Commanding Officer in 1968, a position he held for 22 years until retiring in 1989.
Ted’s son Russell has provided a selection of photographs of Ted’s time with the Squadron, from the 1940s to the 1980s. The pictures will be put on the Squadron Facebook page for viewing, check out the uniforms and the football team look impressive.
Flt Lt Ted Willetts RIP
The Guard of Honour
487 Squadron (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron were recently invited to take part in a service and dedication of Memorial Tablets to the memory of three Birmingham born soldiers who took part in the defence of Rorke’s Drift in South Africa in January 1879.
Sgt Joseph Windridge
Pte Robert Cole
Pte Samuel Parry
All three were interred in unmarked graves in Witton Cemetery in Birmingham. The funds for the memorials are raised by volunteers who undertake research throughout the UK to find and mark the graves of the fallen of the battle.
Prior to the service a short explanation of the battle and the events leading up to the day was presented by Mr Bill Caiman, recent curator of the Royal Welsh Regiment Museum. There was no overstatement of glory, just an admiration of the courage of the men. Mention was made also of the Zulu warriors and the clear respect of their bravery and the feat of endurance performed in running 18 miles to the battle and how near they were to over-running the Garrison at the last. The battle took less than a day and 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded, indicating the ferocity of the fighting.
Descendants of Sgt Windridge attended the ceremony, laying wreaths along with others connected with the three soldiers.
Most of the soldiers who took part in the conflict served with the 24th (2nd Warks) Regiment of Foot. The unit recruiting mainly in the Birmingham and Warwickshire area, and a good number were Brummies.
And an account of the life of Sgt Joseph Windridge was given by Mr Graham Mason a researcher with the group. He described the life of Sgt Windridge. We learnt that following the war he returned to Birmingham, married and had 13 children, six of which died within days of each other of tuberculosis. During the 19th Century, many men enlisted in the Army as an escape from poverty, but on leaving, came back to similar conditions and died before their time. There was no help offered to these men.
We are reminded that following the First World War, just 40 years after the Rorke’s Drift conflict, that the Royal British Legion was created to care for the needs of the returning soldiers. And that indeed almost 100 later is still supporting ex-servicemen in need.
Five lucky cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron joined other cadets and staff from Warks & B’ham Wing to experience a trip in the Griffin HT1, with 60 Squadron, based at RAF Shawbury. The cadets flew to Nesscliffe Army Camp, experienced a quick landing and returned to RAF Shawbury.
The day was made complete by a visit to the AMSU to tour the aircraft maintenance hangers.
OC 487 Squadron Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, commented
Although an early start, it was well worth the effort and will hopefully be repeated in the near future. It was also good to see that the adult staff were rewarded for their efforts with a trip in the aircraft.
More pictures of the day will appear on the Squadron Facebook page shortly
The Finish Line
For the 4th year running Cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron attended the annual Great Birmingham Half Marathon. However in addition to the normal task of issuing the finishing packs to the wear runners as they finished, two smart cadets were asked to hold the finishing tape for the Mens and Womens Elite Races.
Cadet Flight Sergeant Connor Fahey and Cadet Isabelle Harper received special training before stepping out in front of the TV Cameras which were filming the event for live transmission across the Country. It is currently available on the Channel Five “On Demand” service for those who want to see more.
They performed their duties perfectly, releasing and pulling the tape at the exact time necessary to prevent any mishaps. They received complements from many sources on their smartness and efficiency.
This year the Cadets were aided by members of the Civilian Committee.
The day had, as usual, started early. We received our briefing at 7.30 am, then were shown our working area and told to be back in place by 10.00 am. As usual 491 and 1459 Squadrons were in attendance, but this year we were joined by a contingent of 165 Sqn staff and cadets.
By 10 am dressed in our resplendent blue jackets, supplied by the race sponsor, we were in position by the appointed time. There was an hour or so to wait before the early finishers in the elite event and club runner class began to arrive, so we amused ourselves with the usual air cadet banter. The banter was shared with the full time staff employed by the organisers, who like old friends we become reacquainted each year; twice a year now the 10 Km Run has been introduced into the calendar.
After completing their finishing-line duties, attending the press conference and signing autographs, the Squadron’s “TV Stars” joined their colleagues at the coal face to do some proper work.
The weather was perfect for running, slightly cool but no rain. Soon the better runners began to arrive, and as time passed the few became the many and the Sqn were constantly busy opening the large cartons and passing out the bags to the successful competitors, most of whom were running to raise funds for a special charity. Although constantly busy, the efficiency of the cadets was clear, as many of them had done this in previous years and were familiar with the process.
Steve Shakespeare, a Committee member at 487 Sqn was raising money for the Birmingham Childrens Hospital. Karen Shakespeare, his wife and Cdt Daniel Shakespeare were helping on the date as part of the 487 Team.
The Cadets and Civ Com members toiled for over three and a half hours, before the torrent became a small flow, which eventually dried up altogether and we were told to stand down.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill commented “As usual, we had a cracking day out, helping out so that others in turn can help an even larger number through their fund raising efforts. There were many compliments made to me about the cadets turnout, organisation and how they worked as a team; I’m proud of their efforts on the day.
It was especially pleasing to know that the organisers were trusting enough to select two Air Cadets to hold the finishing tape, which they did with great aplomb, in the knowledge they were on live TV. They are keen to downplay their ‘superstar’ status, although I believe the pair are taking bookings, please apply through their agent, who is charging a very reasonable 10%”
RAF Uxbridge Battle of Britain Command Centre
On the 18th of July, myself and six other cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron arrived at RAF High Wycombe for what was most of our first annual camp. The accommodation made us feel at home quite soon which made us feel less nervous. There was a kitchen for staff meetings and a social room for us to use in the evenings.
We were then split into our flights that we would be with for the camp and were told that we were going to be competing in sports, inspections and a drill competition at the end of the week. We all settled in pretty quickly, making friends with other squadrons and familiarizing ourselves with the NCO team and the staff. We learned the layout of the base through our fam-ex. We then got into civvie clothes and went to the field to play rounders, which was a lot of fun, and very competitive between the flights.
On the first full day, we visited the Fire Section for our Fire Safety briefing. It was a really fun and interesting day since we got to use different fire extinguishers and we worked in groups to rescue casualties from a smoked out building. Then just as we were about to leave, the Fire Section staff decided to drench us with their fire truck hoses.
When we returned to our accommodation, and changed into our blues to have our first drill practice of the week in preparation for the drill competition. It's amazing how much you can learn in a week; the drill practices on camp have helped to better mine and other cadets drill because we had staff with extensive knowledge of AP818, which is the drill manual.
We spent the next day in our light blues so we could have our camp photo taken by the Spitfire. The Spitfire they have at RAF High Wycombe surprisingly only cost them the princely sum of £1 as its purchase was sponsored by British Aerospace. We went on the Bomber Harris tour, which was really fascinating as we learnt about his role in WW2. When then returned for our next drill practice. By this point, we were all up to scratch with our drill and both flights looked as though they’d put on a good performance for the drill competition. On the evening, we all got to go bowling together. It seemed like a nice fun activity at first, until we were told it was a flight competition!
On day four, we visited Go Ape. Go Ape is an extreme outdoor activities centre; this was personally my highlight of the week because the zip wires and various other climbs and jumps were really exciting. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves too as this trip really put everyone in really happy moods. After this, we visited the Trenchard Museum.
Whilst on our way to the Trenchard Museum, a car was driving toward us with four stars which could only mean one thing. Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford pulled over to say hello and ask how our camp was going! Despite his scary rank, he was really intrigued and interested about our time at RAF High Wycombe. We then ended our day of visits at Halton House. It was really beautiful; they told us that it has been used in hundreds of TV programmes and films including The King's Speech and Downton Abbey.
After a few last minute alterations, we managed to get everyone from 487 Squadron to fly the next day. For the majority of us, it was our first ever flight, which was nerve racking and exciting. We all got to fly for 20 minutes. I myself had never been flying and I was excited to do the aerobics. A few of us then went to the pool at RAF Halton to complete our basic swimming, which will enable us to take part in water type activities in the future. We ended our hectic day with a trip to the cinema on base to watch Jurassic World. The cadets liked the film but the staff didn't seem too impressed watching a kid's film.
For the last day of camp, no-one knew what to expect at all. We were told that we were going to London but little did we know that we got to visit the Houses of Parliament, 10 Downing St and the infamous Royal Air Force Club!
Overall, the day was really exciting as I never imagined I would visit London's most infamous places in my life.
I have made loads of friends on this camp. I had lots of fun, tried new things and would definitely love to go on Annual Camp again next year.
OC 487 Squadron Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, commented
It’s good to see cadets enjoying their first experience of an Annual Camp on an RAF Station. Clearly a busy programme, packed with activities. I’m not sure if the members of the RAF Club realise how infamous they are, especially as the photos I saw were of cadets eating sandwiches and sipping tea from the best china.
Flight Sergeant (A) Steve Taylor of 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, has guided the Squadron to a second Gold Star in the recent Health and Safety Inspection, repeating the success of 2010.
It is the aim of the Air Cadet Organisation to ensure that every unit has reached the Bronze Level. At each stage there is a threshold to cross to evidence the measures taken on the Squadron. The Gold Star level is the highest obtainable.
The assessment was undertaken by John Mauger, the Central & East Regional Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor. John visited the Squadron and undertook an inspection of all the physical and environmental aspects, together with an examination of the administrative process, record keeping and general management of all matters related to H, S & E.
In addition to the assessment he also suggested ideas for further improvements; although many are minor in nature the total is greater than the sum of the parts.
OC 487 Squadron Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, commented:
FS Steve Taylor was appointed as the Squadron H & S Officer in 2012 and has taken the role of to heart. He has ensured that the criteria demanded are met in full. Although the standard expected of units has increased in the last three years, Steve has kept pace with the additional requirements and ensured the Sqn has an enviable record in the field. I am extremely proud of the achievements and would like to thank Steve for all the hard work he’s done to set up the systems and to continually monitor the position and tweak as required to ensure effective H & S is maintained. A second award of the highest standard has evidenced the Sqns commitment in the intervening period.
Gold Stars are not given out without significant evidence of what we are about when it comes to H & S. We are also aware that we are not perfect, and there is always room for improvement, this allied to the fact that the expectations of the ACO are constantly shifting upwards means that we cannot rest on our “laurels” and think we have it nailed. We have to constantly monitor and amend the processes to continually improve and maintain the standard.
Saturday 18th July
The day had finally arrived it was time for me to head off on summer camp to Cyprus. I had to be at WHQ in Coventry for 9:00 am. Upon arrival at WHQ there was a mini bus there waiting with other cadets from our Wing who were also going to Cyprus. I knew two of them, so that was a relief. We arrived at London Luton at 11:30am where we were greeted by ATC staff from the Surrey Wing, we checked in and went through security. We hadn’t then met any other cadets that were on the camp with us until a girl came up to us and asked if we were cadets. She was from LASER region and hadn’t found anyone from her Wing or Region, so she buddied up with Warwickshire and Birmingham and we set off to find food and more cadets. Time had passed by and we were called for boarding we were all excited to be leaving and getting on the plane.
This is where things started to go downhill. We queued up at the gates (I was near the front) my ticket was checked and I went down to board the aircraft. There was then a queue all the way down the stairs, 10 minutes passed by and we were still standing (in my case sitting) on the stairs. Then there was an announcement “can all passengers on the stairs please return to the boarding gate.” When we were back at the gate we looked outside at the aircraft and the left engine panel was up and engineers were looking inside it, we knew then that things weren’t good. Half an hour passed and the panel was still up, we looked up at the TV above the gate the time we were supposed to take off 14:10 had changed to 15:00, it was now 14:30 and there was another announcement “if passengers wish to do so you can return to the departure lounge” we decided to stay until the departure time increased again to 15:30 and were told by Monarch staff to return to the departure lounge. The time of departure kept increasing by half hour an hour. ATC staff went to the monarch desk to ask what was happening this was at 16:30 the new departure time was set at 18:45 as they needed to fly another aircraft from Birmingham to Luton. The staff tried to get meal vouchers as after a 3 hour delay you are entitled to a meal voucher and then after 5 hours you could receive compensation, well by the time we would depart at 18:45 we would have already been delayed 4 hours and 35 minutes were called for boarding at 18:50 while on board the captain made an announcement that they had to off load two suitcases as there was an incident while boarding.
We were airborne at 20:00, 5 hours and 50 was the length of time we were delayed for. We arrived at Larnaca at 01:40; we then had an hour and a half coach journey to Troodos where we were staying as we couldn’t stay at RAF Akrotiri. We arrived and the Camp Commandant told us what rooms we were in and then said breakfast is at 06:45-07:30, your choice if you want to go, if not everyone was to be up for 10:00am. Everyone was in their room and in bed for 03:30 and I certainly wasn’t having 3 hours sleep. What a day that turned out to be…
It was just my luck that the two lads that were in my room were both getting up for breakfast, so I was woken at 06:15, they clearly thought food was more important than sleep! I went back to sleep. We were told to be in the office block for 10:30 for admin. After all the admin was done, we went for lunch at Troodos in the mess. After lunch we were told to get swimming kit as we had to go to RAF Akrotiri to do a swimming test. On this camp there was going to be a lot of travelling in fact we had to travel to do every activity, normally on camps you would have mini buses but the RAF were using all of them for training. So we had 6 cars with 7 seats I got into a car there was 2 people I knew from my Wing then three other cadets all from the same squadron and our driver was a female Flt Lt. We went to RAF Akrotiri this was an hour drive from Troodos and our driver who told us to call her Mary had been on this camp before so she led the way, however Mary told us that it had been over 3 years since she had been, so the journey went from an hour to an hour and half drive - let’s just say we got slightly lost!
When we finally arrived at the base we were checked by armed guards and allowed in. We went to the bowling alley on the base and had 2 games in which I obviously won (came second in one of them but, moving on …)
We then went over to outdoor swimming pool and did our swimming test this was for when we did water sports later on in the week. The test was 2 lengths swim and then treading water for 2 minutes - we all passed with flying colours. To finish off the day went to the private beach at Akrotiri. We all went in the sea and got to know each other. While in the sea we watched a C130 Hercules land right next to us that’s how close we were to the runway. We went back to Troodos had dinner and free time light out was 10:30.
We woke at 06:00 this was the one day that we all had to be in uniform we were going to RAF Akrotiri for some force development. When we got to Akrotiri we went to the far end of the base by the beach and went to an area behind the airfield. We were greeted by an ATC Sgt who was staff at the Air Cadet Squadron out in Cyprus. He worked on the base as a civilian. He briefed us on what we were going to do and then gave us a safety brief at this point I wish I had turned off and stopped listening, unfortunately I didn’t. The Sgt started off with normal things like keep applying sun cream and keep drinking plenty of water as it was a very hot day (42 degrees) and then he said watch out for all the creepy crawlies, so we are all thinking oh spiders etc.
Well, his definition of creepy crawlies was completely different to ours he said lizards hornets, and this is when my heart nearly stopped he said and snakes!!!!! (bearing in mind I have a phobia of snakes). Then he made matters worse and said “in fact this morning I have already seen 2 snakes” from then on I went on high alert.
Due to the heat and the lack of water the force development exercise had to end (I was certainly not complaining.) The Sgt took us back to the Air Cadet Squadron where we relaxed until we had lunch in the mess at Akrotiri.
Something far more exciting was happening after lunch, we went to the go-kart track on the base and what a track it was. We all did 5 laps twice, it was amazing. Also as the track is right by the runway, we watched 2 Tornados and a Voyager land at the base. We went back to Troodos and had dinner then more free time and lights out at 10:30pm.
We were up again at 06:00 for a day of water sports. This is on a beach owned by the Army near Episkopi. Upon arrival the instructors there told us we had to do another swim test in the sea upon completing this we were given a band. We were then split into groups my group first went on a cruise on a speedboat. The man told us about the area and how it was all owned by the British. It was a great cruise until the journey back I made the wrong choice of sitting at the front. The driver went full speed ahead on the way back I think I spent more time in the air then on the actual boat!
We got back to the beach after a really good cruise, unfortunately for the rest of the camp my group was the only ones to do the cruise as the driver had to do something else. HaHa !!
The activities were sea kayaking, the sea sofa and a play around on the inflatables in the sea, you could climb on them and jump of. It looked easier than it was to actually climb onto them but it was great fun once you were on top. Then it was our turn on the sea sofa - this was a round inflatable In which three people would sit on top and try and hold on while you are been thrown from left to right by the speed boat I went on twice and didn’t fall off once, although there was a close call the speedboat did things I didn’t think a boat could do just to get us off!
We then went on the kayaks. I was that tired I didn’t really fancy doing it, but I did and it finished me off. We travelled back to Troodos for dinner and free time lights out at 1030pm.
Today would turn out to be very interesting and educating. We had left Troodos for 08:00 and were en route to UN protected area. This was of course, the buffer zone that separated Cyprus and occupied Cyprus as it was called, in other words the Cypriot/Greek side and the Turkish (occupied) side The buffer zone was basically a line across the island that separated the two sides it was protected by the UN, and was not an actual country therefore it was no man’s land.
Upon arrival at the UN base we were greeted by a Captain in the British Army, he gave us a tour and some background knowledge of the islands history. He then escorted us to an abandoned airport (Nicosia International) this was in the buffer zone so the Captain said to us when you get back home and your parents asked where you went on that day he said tell them absolutely nowhere because we were currently standing in no man’s land! He took us over to an aircraft and told us why it was there. This aircraft was used to stop the Turkish landing on the runway! We left the UN base and had a long drive to RAF Akrotiri for some section visits. Then for dinner we went to a restaurant not far from Troodos where there was a pool and we ate there. Lights out 10:30 after a tiring day.
Today we all had to be ready for 08:00 however for abseiling we would set off in groups, my group were the last to go at 10:00 so we thought we had a nice 2 hours of relaxation…
We were wrong. Instead we had to complete the FAMEX that we should have done on the first day but due to our late arrival the staff had scraped it. We completed the exercise within the hour so we had an hour to relax and wait.
We went to do abseiling it was actually down the mountain we were living on, it was really fun! After the abseiling we went to Paphos harbour, which I recognised as I had been before to Paphos on a family holiday. We got on the boat and had it all to ourselves. It was amazing we stopped off and we were allowed to jump in and have a swim, then we had a BBQ on board. We went back to Troodos and had free time before we went off to bed.
Today was similar to Wednesday, in that we were all to be ready by 08:00 but we would leave in groups, this time we left first. We were going rock climbing, I was never any good at it but I was good at belaying. We got to the wall and set up, surprisingly I climbed to the top, the instructor told me to go on to the next one which was harder I didn’t bother having a go instead I did an abseil down it. While the other groups arrived my group was taken to a restaurant just down the road where we had a burger and a drink while we waited for the rest to finish. At the restaurant there were two puppies that caught everyone’s attention, they were so small and everyone had a play with them. After everyone finished the rock climbing and their burger we went back to the restaurant with the pool we stayed in the pool for a while and had dinner there. This time we had a Greek styled theme where they brought out different types of Greek food. It was nice to try their food. On the way back from the restaurant we stopped off at the park and a souvenir shop, everyone brought lasers from there, that didn’t go down to well with the staff! After a really good day we had some free time and played cards and chilled out, up in the bar area. We were then briefed for our departure tomorrow!
The last day! We went to breakfast as normal and cleared out our rooms and dropped our suitcases off at the office block. We got our swimming gear ready as just before we departed we were going to the water park near RAF Akrotiri! A few hours in the water which was great fun, I went on every slide there, it was brilliant, we then made our way back to Troodos to collect our bags and say good bye to Troodos Station. We had a long journey to the airport and were all in our camp T-shirts so were easily recognisable. Luckily there wasn’t a delay on the way back to Luton, however the flight seemed longer. We landed in Luton and collected our bags. We then said our goodbyes to everyone. Because most of us were from different Regions, it was highly unlikely that we would see each other again so the good byes took a while. We got on our coach and went back to Birmingham. I can honestly say this has been the best camp visit I have ever been on, although we didn’t stay on RAF Akrotiri (well I’m glad we didn’t now, as it was 45 degrees down there in the day and I would have cooked!).
It was so much fun. We crammed so much into just one week! I met some amazing people that I’m sure I will stay in contact with for a long time and had the chance to do some amazing activities. I would love to go again if given the chance. I would definitely recommend this camp to anyone - unless we were only given one place then in that case I don’t think anyone would like it, but don’t worry I’d take one for the team and go again!
Sgt Fahey on the Small Bore Range
Five cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, along with other units from the Wing, took part in a Wing organised shooting practice at RAF Cosford on Sunday 5th July. The group comprised a mix of first timers and old stagers, well versed in the skills of marksmanship.
L98 and .22 practices were held on two of the ranges, many cadets were qualified to fire both weapons; three of the 487 contingent were able to fire the larger calibre rifle, the two newer members limited to the .22 weapon.
The day was bright and warm, befitting the time of year. This correspondent recalling many truly awful bad weather days; snow, sleet, rain – you name it, and always blowing into your face no matter which range you were on.
Perhaps, I spoke too soon – towards the end of the day, the heavens opened and a horrendous downpour, akin to a monsoon began. Of course it was accompanied by a gale force wind and no matter how far back you went, one got soaked. It abated after a while and we were able to complete the exercises and start packing up.
Following the shooting, the cleaning of rifles, a necessary chore, began. This took an hour or so to complete and following the declarations we began loading up the vehicles with cadets and shooting paraphernalia, to be returned to the Armoury.
Naturally the sun shone all the way home.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, summed up the experience,
“Another successful day on the range; all the cadets were appreciative of the training received. I’d like to thank the RAF Cosford range staff and the Armourers for their assistance, and also to Sqn Ldr Martin and the Wing Shooting Team who organise the practices at various venues throughout the year”.
The 22nd of June – a glorious day for flying; although there were clouds they were very high, with little chance of rain and a deal of sunshine predicted, the six cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron travelled with great expectations. Four had never flown with the Air Cadets before. Along with other Warks & B’ham cadets we arrived at 08.30 for the morning briefing from the flying staff.
First time flyer, Cdt Lukas Buivydas described the day..
Going to Cosford was a great experience because you got some knowledge about how to control an aircraft and what it would be like. We did aerobatics which was a lot of fun, we did tricks such as a G force barrel roll and a 360 loop it was great fun.
We saw things like the first ever iron bridge. The pilot showed us how to locate where you are in that area and how to guide your way back to base. We were shown the instruments and indicators such as the height level measured in feet. The force of gravity was tremendous in the turns and loops, the pilot told us to put out our hand straight and he went straight up, making us feel like we have weights on our arms this meant that the gravity force got stronger he went up to 4G, we also learnt the parachute drill which was fun to learn and it was pretty easy. We also all did the “487 Smile” when having our photo taken in flying suits.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487, said
“I’d like to thank the staff at Nr 8 AEF for making the day a great success. All the cadets appreciated the experience, none more than the first timers. A thoroughly enjoyable day.
Two cadets from 487 Squadron (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron recently returned from the Corps Athletics Championship, having represented Central & East Region at RAF Cosford on Saturday 20th June 2015.
They have progressed through each stage, from Sqn to Wing, to finally reach the pinnacle, of representing the Region in front of the Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty.
Cdt Jahquan Richard took part in the Class A, 100 m Relay and Cdt Akira Blake-Waldo, the Class D Long Jump & 100m Relay. No medals were won but the pair, in their first year as Air Cadets, have advanced at a tremendous rate.
The weather on the day was a bit mixed, with some heavy showers, but just in time for the final parade and presentation of the trophies, the sunshine had burst through the clouds to put the final gloss on the day.
Before the overall trophy the was award to the Corps Champions the Class trophies were presented to the winners, but by a strange turn of fortune each of the cups was collected by a different Region. Finally the overall champions; the Announcer milking the moment, gave the top three results in reverse order – and the Winners were Central & East Region.
The teams then took part in a march-past, led by the band of 215 (Swansea) Sqn, the Commandant taking the salute.
OC Warks & Birmingham, Wg Cdr Stuart Isles, standing in for the Regional Commandant on the day presented Regional Blues to all the Team, including the pair from 487 Sqn, commented on the successes of the day and efforts of all the competitors.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487 Sqn, who also attended on the day was immensely proud of the two 487 Cadets, they are an example to others, showing what can be achieved. As new cadets, having accomplished so much in such a short time, the future is bright for them both.
487 Squadron Cadets at Bedford
Following the fantastic achievements at the Wing Athletic Championships in Solihull, five cadets from 487 Squadron (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron, were selected to represent Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing in the Central & East Regional Athletics competition at Bedford on 7th June 2015.
The fantastic five were:
Cdt Jahquan Richard (Class A) - 100m & 100m Relay
Cdt Akira Blake-Waldo (Class D) - Long Jump & 100m Relay
Cdt Ebere Ikwuanusi (Class E) - 100m, 100m Relay & Shot Put
Sgt Ebony Evans (Class E) - Javelin
FS Maxx Pierce (Class C) - Javelin
The five did their Squadron and Wing proud, a total of five medals were won by the 487 cadets:
Cdt Richards - Silver in 100 m
Cdt Blake-Waldo – Gold in Long Jump & Silver in 100 m Relay
Cdt Ikwuanusi E – Gold in 100m Relay & Bronze in Shot Put
As a result of these successes, Cadets Richard and Blake-Waldo were selected for the Central & East Regional Team to participate in the National Championships at RAF Cosford on 20th June 2015.
I really appreciate the opportunity that I have been given to represent the Squadron and the Wing and well done to all the cadets selected for the Region team, especially Jahquan and Akira, we’re all proud of them.
487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron had another fantastic day at the recent Wing Athletics Championships. A total of 21 Cadets turned out to represent the Sqn at the Tudor Grange Sports Centre in Solihull.
Although no cups were won, the cadets far surpassed last year’s haul of medals, claiming gongs in 21 events.
100 m Cdt Richard Gold
Long Jump Cdt Richard Silver
Shot put Cdt Jeffries Silver
Discus Cdt Jeffries Bronze
Class B Youths
200 m Cdt Hemming Bronze
High Jump Cpl Edmonds Silver
Long Jump Cpl Edmonds Gold
Class C Junior Men
100 m FS Pearse Silver
200 m Cpl Harris Silver
Javelin FS Pearse Gold
Class D Girls
200 m Cdt Blake-Waldo Silver
Long Jump Cdt Blake-Waldo Gold
Class E Junior Women
100 m Cdt Ikwuanusi E Gold
200 m Cdt Ikwuanusi E Silver
400 m Cpl Cusack Bronze
Discus Sgt Evans Silver
Javelin Sgt Evans Gold
Shot put Cdt Ikwuanusi E Gold
A full gallery of photos is also available on the Wing Website.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill was “Another cracking day on the athletics field, with the number of medals won, we should have a fair few cadets selected to represent the Wing in next months Regional Championships at Bedford. A special word for Cdt Ebere Ikwuanusi, who with two Golds and a Silver is now pushing Cpl Kurte Harris Cdt Daniel Hemming for the Sqn Sports Cadet of the Year”.
CWO Louise Johnson with the Flower Pot
Following the successes of previous years, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron attended the Warks & Birmingham Wing Field Day Competition, this year held at Nesscliffe Camp in Shropshire for the first time, ending a long standing arrangement with Bramcote Barracks in Warwickshire.
This year’s competition was earlier in the year than previously, and was held on Sunday 19th April. The change was brought about to increase the Wing’s chance in the Regional Training Day competition held in September.
During the latter months of 2014 and in the early part of 2015, many of the “old stagers” had departed the Sqn, some to go to University, some due to work commitments and others because they had reached their 20th birthday. Either way, to loose such experienced cadets was going to tell on the day’s results.
On the day, the shooting team, itself suffering from the loss of FS Ryan Daly achieved the best result, finishing second. The senior First Aid team and the Media team both finished 5th in their respective competitions.
Due to the dark winter nights there was little opportunity to practice the drill and banner teams, although in the weeks running up to the big day, the cadets gave up some of their weekend time to train.
Following the usual programme, with the competitions completed, the Wing was assembled onto the Parade Square for the formal part of the day. In excess of 500 cadets representing all the Squadrons in the Wing were on parade, awaiting the results.
CWO Louise Johnson received an award recognising her as the Warks & B’ham nomination for this year’s Dacre Broach Competition.
The Per Ardua Cup was won by 492 (Solihull) Sqn, repeating last year’s success. After the recent trials and tribulations, 487 were awarded 5th place in the Competition.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487, summed up the day, commenting that
“With the recent changes of cadets in the Sqn, we perhaps feared more than we should have done about the day’s results. To finish 5th out of 27 units in the Wing is a success in itself. It shows that the crop of cadets coming through the ranks will be a force to reckon with in the coming years. For many of the 487 cadets attending, it was their first Wing Training Day. They did not let themselves or their Squadron down. I’m positive about the future – If we can come 5th with a fresh group of younger cadets, by next year we will have a hardened bunch of competitors, hungry for success.
I congratulate the cadets from 487 Sqn for all the hard work and dedication and for their efforts on the day. Everybody did their best, that’s all I can ask for. Well Done.”
Cdt Daniel Hemming (left) and Cpl Sam Brown, 495 Sqn with the Shield and Region Blues
Cadet Daniel Hemming 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron has for the second year running represented the Central & East Region in the Corps Junior Rugby Competition, last year the Region finished as runners-up, but 2015 saw them crowned as Corps Champions. Each player collected a Gold Medal to remind them of the occasion and a certificate of appreciation from the Regional Sports Officer, Sqn Ldr Kevin Bunn.
Cdt Hemming has been a roaring sports success since joining the Sqn 18 months ago and has now moved into a slight lead in the fierce competition to determine the 487 Sqn Sports Cadet of the Year.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill commented “Cadet Hemming continues to be a sporting natural; he clearly enjoys sport, especially Rugby. The future holds great promise for him”
For a number of years now Cadets and Staff from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Sqn have assisted the Organisers of the Great Birmingham Half Marathon. As a result of the good working relationship developed, the Squadron, along with 1459 & 491 Sqns were requested to provide a similar service for the inaugural Great Birmingham 10 Km Run. It is hoped that the event will become a permanent annual fixture in the city and complement the longer run. In addition to the staff and cadets, three members of the Civilian Committee turned out to help with the labours of the day.
Over 6,000 entrants were expected to turn out for the race which began in Jennens Row, the site of the old Rock Face climbing centre in Aston and followed a circuitous route finishing in Broad Street. As is the norm the runners were sent off in waves, based on ability and speed, the quicker athletes completing the distance in little over 30 minutes, others taking over two hours. It is an all-encompassing event with most of the runners raising funds for charities large and small. Many of the runners were from overseas and represented the twin towns of Birmingham.
The Air Cadet contingent was again tasked with handing out the finishers packs to the athletes in the zone behind the finish line. The marshals and other volunteers were asked to meet in the Copthorne Hotel at 08.00, where final briefings were given. Packed lunched and the usual smart blue jackets were issued and were made our way to our allocated area. The weather was miserable; it had been raining for some hours and was still drizzling while we walked to the appointed position. With the first runners not expected until after 11.00 am, the cadets were sent way to get a breakfast in the city with instructions to be back in good time. As the morning wore on, the weather improved and by 10.30 the rain had stopped and the sun was doing its best to peek through the gloom.
In a departure from the usual duties, 487 Sqn was asked to provide marshals to help out with the junior runs, which took place before the main event. Some children aged as young as three ran in the 1.5 and 2.5 km runs – the best of which received special prizes as a memento of their achievement. The adult staff & Committee members volunteered for the task, but were back with the main party in time for the main event.
Almost, bang on time the faster athletes began arriving, first a trickle and then a deluge of runners besieging the station to claim their pack; containing drinks, energy bars, a T shirts and a medal. Whilst there were only 6,000 odd runners, compared with the 22,000 who completed the half marathon, the shorter distance meant that they arrived much closer together, and the cadets had to work continuously to keep up with the pace.
As usual the marshals had a great rapport with the runners, who recognised the contribution of the volunteers and the part they played in making the event a success. After two or so frantic hours, the mad rush began to die down and within half an hour or so only a few stragglers were crossing the finish line. We were stood down by Mal & Pete who walked down broad street hand-in-hand at the end of a job well done.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill commented “As usual the work was hard but enjoyable and it is satisfying to know that our efforts were of assistance to the Organisers, but more especially to the runners who do so much for the various charities.”
CWO Louise Johnson - Lord Lieutenants Cadet
For the third time in four years a 487 Cadet has been appointed as Lord Lieutenant's Cadet for the West Midlands County.
On Wednesday 1st April 2015 Cadet Warrant Officer Louise Johnson of 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron was invested as a Lord Lieutenant's Cadet along with representatives from the Sea Cadets Corps & Army Cadet Force.
The ceremony was performed by the Lord Lieutenant, Paul Sabapathy CBE and took place in the Council Chamber at the Council House in Birmingham. The Cadets were presented with special badges for their uniforms. The formalities were witnessed by proud parents, family and Staff from the various contingents, all agreed that the Cadets were excellent examples of the three Cadet Forces. The outgoing Cadets were also in attendance. Cadets from 487 Squadron, along with representatives of the other cadet forces acted as a Reception Guard for the Lord Lieutenant upon his arrival. He took the time to chat with the Cadets before the formalities began.
A Citation for each Cadet was read out by their Unit Commanders, prior to receipt of their badges, highlighting their individual achievements during their time as Cadets.
As Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets, their duties will include accompanying the Lord Lieutenant at special civic and military engagements during the forthcoming year. During his speech the Lord Lieutenant, highlighted the nature of the activities and their responsibilities during their tenure in post. He went on to say that all the Cadets were a credit to themselves and their organisations and how they might benefit from the experience, gaining in self-confidence and stature.
CWO Johnson has been a member of 487 Sqn for over five years. Her roles include the mentoring and training of junior cadets, administrative support on the unit and assisting the adult staff with the day-to-day running of the Sqn. She has excelled in sports, shooting, first aid & adventure training/fieldcraft. She assists each year with Poppy Collections and other fund raising events for the RAFBF & RAFA. She has also volunteered her time to assist the organisers of the Birmingham half marathon. She attends each year the RBL Remembrance Sunday events in Birmingham City Centre. In addition to attendance at numerous camps, she has undertaken a Junior NCO course at RAF Cosford, the Cadet over 18 BASIC course & is also DSB cleared.
As an Air Cadet, FS Johnson has achieved her Senior Cadet Classification. She has passed the Heartstart Course & been awarded the Youth First Aid Badge and has been a member of the Sqn First Aid Team for three years. She has twice represented the Wing in the Regional FA Competition. She is a Bronze Level D of E Award Holder.
She has achieved Sqn, Wing, Region & Corps Marksmanship badges and has been a member of the Squadron Shooting team for the last four years, winning the Wing team shooting competition (The Collins Trophy) each time. She was runner up in the individual marksman competition in 2011 & 2014 at Bramcote Barracks. As a result she has represented the Wing shooting team at RAF Wittering Regional Training Day three times, the team finishing a creditable third on the last two occasions. She is qualified to shoot 0.22, L98, L81 target rifle and one of very few cadets qualified to fire the L86 weapon. As a result of this experience and no little skill, she has developed into an excellent coach.
In sports, she has represented the Squadron in all the female events, attended various trials and as a result gained selection to represent the Wing twice in Athletics and once at Hockey. She also assists with the supervision and recording of the Squadron’s D of E Physical Achievement sessions in addition to taking part herself. She is Captain of the Girls sporting team and encourages the cadets through her example.
Flight Lieutenant Brendan O’Neill OC 487 Sqn, commented:
“This is a great honour for Louise; I have followed her progression from a thirteen year old recruit to become one of the Squadron’s senior cadets. A career marked with many milestones along the way. It makes me very proud to see her invested as the Lord Lieutenant's Cadet. It is a reward for her efforts and a measure of her achievements. She can be justifiably proud of her record.
I’m doubly proud that for the third time in four years a cadet from 487 Sqn has been chosen to be the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for the West Midlands County”
Three cadets from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron attended a Pre GS Course at the Central & East Regional Activity Centre (RAC) based at RAF Cranwell on Saturday 14th February 2015. Budding pilots, FS Maxx Pearse, Sgt Connor Fahey and Cdt Harniak Singh were the three from 487 Sqn, Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487 acting as driver for the day.
The course involves instruction of cadets awaiting a Gliding Scholarship in the basics of glider pilot training using the simulators at the RAC. The team of instructors lead by Wing Commander Bernard Tisley OBE provide instruction and practical ‘hands on’ experience using the simulators.
The course includes the primary & secondary effects of the controls on aircraft movement - Rolling, Pitching & Yawing. The co-ordinated use of controls; turning & banking, together with circuit flying and the approach & landing. Instruction in stalling of aircraft and the recovery of stalls was also covered in a busy day.
Cadets should arrive for the course with a good understanding of Principles of Flight and all cadets intending to apply, should revise the ACP before attending.
All the cadets collected a Certificate as a memento of the day.
Cdt Harniak Singh thought “that the course was very interesting and was a good chance to learn more about flying in preparation for the actual scholarship course”.
Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, OC 487 Sqn, said of the weekend “With the current position of limited gliding opportunities, this is a more than useful substitute for the real thing. The Course prepares cadets awaiting a chance to attend a Gliding Scholarship Course and the simulators are remarkably realistic and provide good practical training of the techniques involved in flying an aircraft. The instructors, in addition to the training, provided support and encouragement throughout.
The Tutor Aircraft
From the Air
Cdt Konnie Slattery in the Kit Room
On Saturday 21st February 2015, 3 cadets (1 cadet travelling as a non-flying reserve) from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron went flying.
The plane we flew was a Grob 115E (also known as the Tutor) at Nr 8 AEF (Air Experience Flight) at RAF Cosford. We travelled to Cosford in the minibus with 4 other squadrons and on arrival, to our disappointment it started to heavily snow, but within 3 minutes of the start of the snow it had miraculously stopped.
Upon arrival at Nr 8 AEF we first had our safety brief and a mini test on what we had learnt. When it came to my turn to fly I geared up in my green jumpsuit and helmet with a parachute strapped to the back of me. We walked out to the Tutor and I climbed into the cockpit.
We taxied out to the runway and went full throttle down the runway. We ascended into the skies and flew around for a bit. The Instructor let me take over the controls and I flew for what felt like a long time. The instructor then asked me whether I would like to do any aerobatics; my answer was a straight and definite YES!
To start off with we did a stall rudder turn, then we went for a barrel roll, then a loop, then I took control and tried a loop and accomplished it, then we did an aileron roll, then we felt what zero gravity felt like, then a fast descending turn which we pulled over 4g, I loved every minute of these aerobatics.
We descended to do a touch and go landing which we had a bit of a problem with the cross-wind. Then we came round again and made a full stop landing which to be honest was a bit of a hefty bump. After I got all my gear off I walked into the briefing room and felt as if I had just been in space. I have always wondered what it was like to do aerobatics and I still couldn’t believe what I had just experienced
Wing & 487 Banner Party
The 487 Contingent
To celebrate the 74th Anniversary of the formation of the Air Training Corps on 5th February 1941 the Wing paraded through the streets of Daventry on a bitterly cold Sunday morning. Cadets and staff from 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron taking part in the annual event.
The 487 Banner team, as competition winners, carried the Wing Banner and FS Maxx Pearce carried the Squadron Colours along with representatives of the other Squadrons on parade.
The Banner team comprised Sgt Connor Fahey, banner bearer; escorts were Cadets Daniel Hemming and Kayleigh Savage and Sgt Ebony Evans as Warrant Officer.
Several hundred cadets paraded and marched through the town centre to the parish church, whereupon, following the fall out order, they rushed into the sanctuary & warmth of the building as if the imminent arrival of the second coming had been announced.
The return was no warmer, indeed there were a few snow flurries following the church service and during the march past. Following the thank-you speech, the parade was dismissed to retire to 497 Sqn HQ for the tea & sandwiches for the usual bunfight.
Next year is the 75th Anniversary and the Corps has been asked to suggest an appropriate form of celebration. If you have any ideas, please let us know.
OC 487 Sqn, Flt Lt Brendan O’Neill, praised all the 487 Cadets for turning out in very wintery conditions. It was no pleasure to stand about in those temperatures and the cadets did themselves, the Squadron and the Wing proud on the day.
On Sunday 487 (Kingstanding & Pery Barr) Squadron travelled to Kenilworth to take on the challenge of the Wing Cross Country event. It started a dry day but this would not last; no sooner had we arrived when the heavens opened and that’s the way it would remain until we all left.
The cadets were up for the run; many new to the sport. The 487 cadets all ran well giving it their all in the bad conditions. The rain and wind slowing their progress as much as it could but it would not dampen their spirit. The end presentation was scraped as the cadets were already soaked through and the staff hadn’t fared any better. The overall results were emailed through and 487 in its true style had put up a good performance with Corporal Harris coming third in his class and the senior girls group coming third overall.
I would like to thank all the cadets for their effort and support in the event.
Queens Award at Ishida
At the Coventry Mission
At the Barr Beacon Memorial
A mid-term report
Since her appointment as the West Midlands Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet in April, Flight Sergeant Bethany Edmonds, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron has had a busy time attending events across the West Midlands County, meeting many of the local glitterati and a few members of the Royal Family. Many of the occasions are to reward local people and organisations who are to receive recognition for their services to Industry or the Community.
She was appointed along with Cadets from the Sea Cadets Corps, Royal Marine Cadets and Army Cadet Forces and represents the Air Cadet Organisation on these occasions.
Flight Sergeant Edmonds first duty after her Investiture evening at The Birmingham Council House was at The Coventry City Mission on the 1st October 2014. The Mission was to receive the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services which is usually presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County, acting on the Queen’s behalf. However, on this occasion, the award was being presented by Prince Edward and so this was a big first event for FS Edmonds to get her teeth into! She attended the event in her best RAF No1 uniform and handed the award and certificate to the Prince, for presentation to the awardees. After the big event and during some small talk exchanged between our FS and the Prince, he commented on just how smart she was and how much of a credit she was to the Air Cadet Organisation.
Her second event was as a last minute replacement, due to the illness of another of the County Lord-Lieutenant Cadets, and it just so happened, that it was another royal visit! Flight Sergeant Edmonds attended The Hope Centre in Halesowen, to present another Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. This time she assisted Prince Richard to present the awards. The Hope Centre is a charity assisting disadvantaged people to get their lives “back on track” if they had gone slightly off the rails, providing educational and vocational training as well as emotional and religious support. Flight Sergeant Edmonds commented, “The people that I have met and spoke to today were just so truly and honestly inspirational. It was such a humbling day; it made me realise just how prestigious these awards really are. The things that people do here are genuinely life changing, and it’s such an amazing opportunity to meet such phenomenal people!”
Her third appearance was at Ishida Europe with the Lord-Lieutenant himself this time. It was to present the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Flight Sergeant Edmonds and the Lord-Lieutenant upon arrival were taken to a conference suite for tea, coffee and cakes (If you know our FS, you’ll realise this is a very exciting part of her day, as she loves her food!). Following refreshments, the formalities began with the presentation of awards to two of the gentlemen who worked there. The ceremony was being recorded and the Lord-Lieutenant invited her to make a speech about herself and her role as the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet. After this she was invited to take a tour of the factory which was really interesting and definitely an opportunity most wouldn’t be offered. After the tour it was buffet and champagne time! Obviously she enjoyed the buffet, but sadly had to decline the champagne, but had a great time chatting for several hours with the people who worked at Ishida Europe to appreciate just how special the work they do there is and just how deserving of this award they are!
Flight Sergeant Edmonds most recent event was one closer to home. She was invited to attend the re-dedication of the Barr Beacon War Memorial. She greeted the Lord-Lieutenant upon arrival and accompanied him on the stage during his address. The children from local schools had prepared readings and songs, which was a great sight from the stage, especially seeing all of the smiles during the pouring rain. Poppy wreaths were laid and hymns sung followed by a salute and a silence to remember the fallen. The local children then sang a final song to round off the day.
FS Edmonds is appreciative of the role in which she has been given and commented about her experiences so far:
“What an honour. I have done many amazing things, not only in my cadet career but in other aspects of my life, but this role is nothing like I have done before; the people I have met and the things that these people have been capable of doing. Never have I met so many people deserving of recognition, and to be aiding the presentations to acknowledge their achievements is an unbelievable honour. My investiture is nothing like I’d have imagined it would be; it is 100 times better! I feel so proud to be representing the Air Cadets in the way that I am, and there are many more things to come! I am attending the official opening of the new ‘WW1 in the Air’ Exhibition at the RAF Cosford Air Museum as a guest of the Lord-Lieutenant, later on this month and there is another amazing invitation that has been extended to me after my investiture is complete, so stay tuned!!”
Flt Lt O’Neill, OC 487 added: It has certainly been a busy year so far and will continue for the remainder of her term in office as the Lord Lieutenant has a very busy schedule in the coming months.