New generation of cadets sought

Air cadets from 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron take part in fieldcraft work. Picture by Mark Robson.

Air cadets from 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron take part in fieldcraft work. Picture by Mark Robson.

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An air cadet squadron is throwing open its doors to encourage more youngsters to give aviation, action and adventure a go.

346 (Tynemouth) Squadron is launching a recruitment drive for a new generation of cadets.

Youngsters aged between 12 and 16 can attend the squadron’s base in Military Road, North Shields, from 7pm on April 20, to try their hand at activities including basic fieldcraft skills, radio communication, first aid and teamwork tests.

Officer Commanding Flt Lt Dan Laidler said: “Becoming an air cadet is not just about preparing you for life in the military or the aerospace industry.

“While some do use it as a stepping stone to joining the RAF, being a cadet for most is about making new friends, building confidence, self-reliance and endurance, and having the opportunity to take part in a range of thrilling activities not usually open to other people their age.”

“Being an air cadet also offers you the chance to gain extra academic qualifications, with a range of Btec courses available, as well as the opportunity to either hone musical skills or learn to play an instrument in either the Squadron or Wing bands.

“Evidence shows that young people who have been an air cadet are usually more confident and able to better step-up to the many challenges that life throws at them. Employers and further education establishments also hold cadets in high regard.”

Tynemouth is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and is one of the original ATC squadrons’ set up on February 5, 1941, to help prepare young pilots for wartime service.

FS John David Adams, 17, from Tynemouth, is one of the cadets who will soon be moving on to a new life.

He said: “I’ve been with the Squadron for more than four years. Joining was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve made lots of new friends, had some brilliant experiences, including flying, parachuting, visiting RAF bases and going on an overseas camp to Cyprus, and it’s really helped boost my confidence and challenged my leadership skills.

“It offers kids the chance to do more with their spare time and experience lots of exciting activities that would normally be out of their reach.

“I am hoping to go into the RAF as a weapons systems operator, but for most cadets it’s about having a good time.”

Tynemouth Squadron meets twice a week on Tuesday and Friday nights.

Those interested in joining or wanting more information are urged to come along to the open evening, email 346@aircadets.org, go to www.346sqn.co.uk, or call 0191 289 3707 on a parade night.