Young Sunderland cadets flying high after being named best in the UK

A group of young Sunderland cadets are flying high after securing the prestigious honour of being named the best in the UK.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 11:04 am
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 3:48 pm
Air Commodore McCafferty inspects 14-year-old cadet Luke Maven, squadron banner bearer.

111 (Sunderland) Squadron picked up the honour following an inspection by Air Commodore, Dawn McCafferty CBE RAFR – Commandant RAF Air Cadets.

The inspection, which forms part of the Sir Alan Lees Trophy, saw the squadron compete against five others from across the country, including Northern Ireland, and took place at Broadway Junior School in Sunderland with a full march past and band performance.

Flight Lieutenant James Yeo, Officer Commanding 111 Squadron, said: “Words cannot describe how proud I am that we have brought the Lees trophy back to the North East.

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“The staff and cadets at the squadron have worked so hard and to be recognised as the best of the best is simply amazing.

“I’d particularly like to extend thanks to Margarita Acklam, the headteacher, at Broadway Junior School who has supported us throughout this incredible journey.”

The Lees Trophy dates back to 1949 when, after the Second World War, Sir Alan Lees presented the award as a way of honouring the top squadron in the Air Training Corps.

Following the formal parade, Air Commodore McCafferty was invited back to the Squadron HQ in Thorney Close to see the cadets in action, enjoying activities such as climbing, radio communications, STEM and leadership. The squadron’s flight simulator was also demonstrated by young cadets who aspire to join the Royal Air Force as pilots.

She said: “It was the toughest competition I’ve encountered in years and I am very proud of all of the six squadrons who made it to the final inspections.

They were all worthy contenders and should be so proud of themselves; they were all outstanding examples of the Air Training Corps at its best. Congratulations of course to 111 (Sunderland) Squadron who were fantastic in every way.”

111 Squadron is the Sunderland branch of the Air Training Corps, offering young people flying, gliding, sports, adventure training and nationally recognised qualifications.

The joining age is 12-years-old and they meet at the ATC headquarters on Tay Road, Thorney Close, every Tuesday and Friday from 6.45pm.

More information can be found at