Awards success for Watton cadets

MORE than 150 guests joined cadets, staff and committee of 864 (Watton) Squadron as they celebrated the success of the cadets at the annual presentation evening of awards and trophies.

MORE than 150 guests joined cadets, staff and committee of 864 (Watton) Squadron as they celebrated the success of the cadets at the annual presentation evening of awards and trophies.

The Queens Hall was packed as the Regional Commandant, Group Captain Brett Morrell, Wing Commander Tony Hipperson, Officer Commanding Norfolk and Suffolk Wing and members of the Royal Air Forces Association joined them in the spectacular evening.

Wg Cdr Hipperson said, 'It was an excellent occasion and well organised and it was pleasing to see the hall full with cadets, parents, families, friends and guests. I know that the other guests were as impressed as I was. I particularly liked the video sequences and slides depicting squadron activities and I thought how well this showed the vast range of cadet activities in which the cadets have participated.'

Squadron Commander Flt Lt Michael Edney together with Flt Lt Samantha Burgess hosted the evening's events, whilst the Squadron Honorary President and officer commanding II (AC) Sqn at RAF Marham, Wing Commander John Turner DFC MA RAF, made the presentations of awards and trophies.

The guests had an evening to remember as the cadets and Squadron achievements were showcased, these included winning the Lawrence Rees Eagle Trophy as the best overall Sqn in Norfolk and Suffolk Wing for the third year running. The Hunt Cup as the best sports squadron for the third time in four years and a whole host of other major achievements across the Air Cadet Syllabus including flying, gliding and shooting.

All the cadets personally received their awards on stage from Wing Commander Turner whilst their activities were displayed for all to see and enjoy, these included a large variety of wing and regional Blues, BTEC and Duke of Edinburgh awards, as well as flying and gliding scholarships.

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The major award of the evening was the II (Army Co-Operation) Sqn Best Cadet of the Year Trophy and with the trophy goes the coveted prize of a flight in an RAF Tornado GR4. This year Cadet Warrant Officer Rachel Fincham won in considerable style.

Flt Lt Edney said: 'Rachel has had an amazing year with more achievements than any other cadet I have ever known. Her highlights of the year have included winning the Dacre nominee as the best female cadet in Norfolk and Suffolk Wing, being awarded her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and BTEC First Diploma in Public Services through CVQO, achieving a Distinction Star grade. She was the only female cadet nationally to be awarded an Air League Flying Scholarship; and she also gained her gold gliding wings and has attended overseas and UK camps. She has had an amazing year and she truly deserves the accolade as the best cadet at 864 (Watton) Squadron.'

Rachel said: 'To win the best cadet award at my squadron is one of the highlights of my cadet career. Over the past five years at 864 Squadron, I have done so many fantastic things. These have including learning to fly and glide, lots of travel including a three week expedition to Australia, skiing in Germany and overseas camps in Gibraltar and Germany, but being named as best cadet has shot up to the top of my achievement list. I am really looking forward to the fast jet flight as well!'

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