Although there was no red carpet at the annual awards ceremony for 2358 Ferndown squadron of the ATC at Ferndown Village Hall on 9 March, the night was just as prestigious.
Invited guests included Wing Commander Vanessa Toth who presented the awards, the Mayor of Ferndown Cllr Mike Parkes and Suadron Leader Bodger.
The evening was well supported by parents and family and was formally opened with Warrant Officer Mark Berry who gave a brief summary of the previous year and thanked all who had made it possible.
Cadet Cpl Witcher spoke about a week spent aboard HMS Bristol last summer. The type 82 destroyer built in 1967 is moored in Portsmouth Harbour and used for educational stays. The week gave cadets an insight into life on board ship and also included many educational trips to surrounding museums and naval establishments.
This was followed by a brief summary of the week spent at RAF Valley, Anglesey by Cdt Tarleton and Cdt Brown. Cadets were given a full tour of the base, famous for fast jet training including an opportunity to see inside the Hawk simulator, control tower and fire station. There was a chance to join in an exercise with Marine cadets and as relaxation there were trips to high ropes course and orienteering. Cdt Brown was fortunate to have a flight aboard a Sea King helicopter.
The adventure weekend undertaken by the squadron last summer was described by Cadet Way who gave a humorous account of the energetic walks around the Purbecks. The cadets camped near the Bovington ranges and were involved in the planning of the walks so had opportunity to use the skills learned in field craft and navigation lessons.
The evening’s talks ended with a brief description of the trip to Hong Kong with the IACE (International Air Cadet Exchange) undertaken by Flight Sergeant Navrady-Pitcher. Cadets flew to Hong Kong where they lived in the heart of the city. Along with other cadets, they experienced the many cultural sites and museums as well as bartering in local markets and sampling food sold from street vendors. The trip also included a chance to go into China to see the difference between rural China and Hong Kong. A fantastic opportunity open to any cadet and well worth aiming for. Flight Sergeant Navrady-Pitcher thanked the JTYAF for the bursary that helped fund his exchange trip.
The presentation of certificates to cadets for exams or fund raising events, with a few sporting achievements as well. Wing Commander Toth then presented the final awards, the one for Maximum Effort to Cadet Kent, Best Junior Cadet to Cadet Callender, Best Dressed Cadet to Cadet Jackson, Best Cadet of the Year to Cadet Way and Best NCO of the Year to Flight Sergeant Navrady-Pitcher.
This demonstrates the wide diversity of opportunities open to cadets both at Wing level and National level. There are many different camps, home and abroad and chances to represent the squadron at many sporting events. Although restricted by numbers the trips are open to all cadets and are in addition to the many boot camps and adventure camps run by the staff at Ferndown.
If you enjoy sport, music, flying, shooting, want to learn first aid, navigation or how to fly in formation on the flight simulator then come along and give it a try.
Anyone looking for something just a little bit different, the chance for adventure and to learn new skills should contact the squadron through the website at http://www.2358atc.org.uk or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit to the Squadron on an induction evening.