Air cadets are on cloud nine after a high-flying member of the Red Arrows acrobatic display team dropped in to see them.
Squadron Leader Ruth Shackleton, who grew up in South Shields, took time out to talk to cadets at 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron.
The 39-year-old is the ‘Reds’ team manager and chatted about her rise to the heights within the RAF and her pride at managing the Red Arrows during their 50th anniversary year.
Squadron Leader Shackleton’s presentation also covered how the Red Arrows was formed, how the pilots perfect their formations, the important role they play in promoting Britain both at home and abroad and what her job involves.
She said: “I always enjoy meeting young people, especially air cadets.
“They are the future of our country and potentially may be inspired to join the RAF.
“To come to Tynemouth was particularly special given that I’m from the region.”
Flight Lieutenant Dan Laidler, Officer Commanding 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron, said: “We’re thrilled that Squadron Leader Shackleton has taken the time to travel back to her native Tyneside too to visit us.”
“She sets a fantastic example of how a passion for and career in aviation can evolve from being a cadet herself to reaching the top of her chosen profession – especially as in many people’s eyes she would appear to have realised where her true vocation lay quite late in life.
“But she shows where dedication and hard work can get you, and for our cadets who are just taking their first steps into the adult world, she is an incredible role model.”
Cadet John David Adams, 15, said he had felt privileged to have the chance to meet Squadron Leader Shackleton.
“It was a fantastic opportunity. Everyone admires the Red Arrows and I would never have got to do something like this without being a part of 346.
“We all feel really privileged to have met her and to have heard about her life in the RAF and with the Red Arrows.
“She was very down-to-earth and signed autographs for all the cadets afterwards and chatted to us.”