Cadets honoured for successful year

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell with 346 Tynemouth Squadron air cadets following the 60th Sabena Awards. Picture by Mark Robson.
Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell with 346 Tynemouth Squadron air cadets following the 60th Sabena Awards. Picture by Mark Robson.

Top awards have been handed out to young cadets who have been flying high over the year.

Air cadets at 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron have celebrated a year of success at an annual awards night.

A capacity audience saw accolades presented for everything from the best academic results to skills and community engagement at the 60th Sabena Awards.

The event also saw another 60th anniversary marked with one time cadet turned staff member Brian Luke, 75, who now volunteers as a civilian instructor, presented with a special long service award.

The Sabena Awards are named after the former Belgium national airline which donated a trophy to the squadron for the best all-round cadet.

The cadets were joined at the ceremony held at Christ’s Church C of E Primary School, North Shields, by Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell.

The top honour of the Sabena Trophy was won by Sgt Elliott Rogers, 17, who recently returned from an expedition to South Africa that saw him and seven colleagues working with an impoverished community.

The squadron’s Officer Commanding, Flt Lt Dan Laidler, said: “While all our youngsters have exceptional qualities that ensure we have a well-rounded troop, in the end it was Sgt Rogers’ hard work, commitment, team spirit and willingness to go that extra mile that saw him walk off with this esteemed trophy.”

Sgt Rogers also won the Best Senior Examination Results for 2014 prize.

Other trophies presented were:

• Best First Class Result of 2014 – Cadet Alex Scott, 14;

• Best Leading Examination Result for 2014 – Cadet Amber Robson, 15;

• Best Bandsman – Corporal Calum Hartwell, 15;

• Best Marksman – Cadet Joe Johnson, 15;

• Sportsman of the Year – Cadet Richard Baker, 17;

• Community Shield: Cadet Lauren King, 16;

• Wing Commander Knowles Shield for Best Master Air Cadet Result 2014 – Flt Sgt Liam McConville, 16;

• Squadron Leader Kennedy Cup for Best Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer – FS McConville.

Three cadets were also promoted to Corporal: Amber Robson, Jack Sherrin and James Webb, all 15. Cpl Calum Hartwell was promoted to Sergeant.

Flt Lt Laidler said: “All this year’s Sabena Award winners and successful promotion candidates can feel justifiably proud of their achievements, as can everyone from the squadron on parade both individually and collectively.”

Flt Lt Laidler also praised the dedication and commitment of the squadron’s adult volunteers, in particular Brian Luke.

He said of Mr Luke, who was given an Air Training Corps pocket watch: “It is a real honour to have presented him with a memento of his time at 346. He is a real stalwart of the squadron and companion to any officer commanding.

“Over the past 60 years Brian has assisted cadets in adventure training, camps, transport to and from flying and gliding days and is dedicated in supporting their syllabus training.

“The ATC couldn’t produce such high calibre cadets without the tireless commitment and selflessness of volunteer staff like Brian.”