The members of 1220 (March) Squadron Air Cadets recently held the annual Dining in Night. This is a formal dinner during which new members of the unit are formally welcomed and goodbyes are said to those that left during the previous year.
Over 50 members of the squadron met at the Conservative Club to enjoy a four-course meal followed by after-dinner speeches. All uniformed members of the squadron attended in mess dress. For the cadets this meant wearing a white shirt and a bow tie, with their uniform trousers or skirt.
During the after-dinner speeches conducted by the Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Burnham, the new members of the unit were formally welcomed by asking the existing members to raise their glasses in a toast. In addition to new cadets the squadron also welcomed several new members of staff including Civilian Instructors Reg Johnson, Sherry Ansell and Tom Albon and two new service instructors, RAF Senior Aircraftsman JJ Hart and army Warrant Officer James Burnham.
Sadly, it was also an opportunity to say goodbye to Warrant Officer Tammy Curwen and Civilian Committee Chairman Louise Ayres. Tammy has been with the Squadron for six years and during that time has vastly improved the shooting achievements for the Squadron. In addition she has pushed the BTEC awards and been responsible for the drill and discipline of the unit. Louise has been on the Civilian Committee for eight years having joined when her son Daniel became a cadet. Daniel left several years ago but Louise stayed with the Squadron taking the chair position and has led the committee with confidence raising much required funds for the Squadron.
Cadets leaving the squadron during the year were welcomed back to be ‘dined out’. Flight Sergeant Simon Foster left during the year to take an apprenticeship with British Sugar and enjoyed returning to say a final goodbye. Sergeant Tim Kightly also stopped being a cadet during the year as he reached the upper age limit for being a cadet. Tim, however, was ‘dined out’ and back in again as he too has joined the staff team as a civilian instructor. Flt Lt Burnham congratulated them both on their successful cadet careers before they too were toasted.
A short review of the cadet’s personal achievements was made to inspire the newer members to take part in all that the Corps offers. Some of the personal achievements were Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards at bronze, silver and gold level, BTECs in aviation studies, public services and music, and St John Youth First Aid awards.
In what has been a successful year for the squadron, some of the many achievements were reflected on; the highlight being awarded the Walker trophy for being the best squadron in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing plus Cadet Warrant Officers Alexa Ferguson and Alex Ogden being the best female and male cadets in both the wing and region.