Gary given a top honour

A Longbenton volunteer has been honoured with the highest level in recognition of outstanding service in the Royal Air Force.

Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, officer commanding of 2344 (Longbenton) Air Cadet Squadron, has been awarded a Chief of the Air Staff Commendation in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

He took command of the squadron, where he used to be a cadet, in 2008 and has overseen a transformation, helping them being named top squadron in the UK in 2013.

Flt Lt Richardson said: “The CAS Commendation is something that I share with everyone at the squadron.

“It recognises everyone’s hard work, time, effort, patience and achievements and I say a huge thank you to all and look forward to watching even more achievements be enjoyed.”

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Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, Commandant Air Cadets, said: “I was particularly impressed with the positive impact Gary has had on the lives of the young people under his command which extends well beyond their participation in Air Cadets.”

Officer Commanding Durham and Northumberland Wing Air Cadets, Wing Commander Dave Harris, added: “I am delighted that Gary has been honoured by the Chief of the Air staff.

“This is a well-deserved award which acknowledges the hard work and inspirational leadership it has taken to move a failing squadron to the winners of the Lees Trophy for the best ATC squadron in the country.

“The award also reflects on the high morale of both staff and cadets who have all contributed to the success of the Squadron.”