North East air cadet squadron launches recruitment drive

Squadron commandant Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty with cadet Holly Held, 16.
Squadron commandant Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty with cadet Holly Held, 16.

The Air Training Corps’ 861 (Wideopen) Squadron is on the lookout for new recruits to join its ranks.

The recruitment drive follows the departure of its two most senior cadets last week.

Alex Burn, a squadron member since 2010, is off to York University to do a computer science degree, and Curtis Nicholson, a member since 2009, has reached the upper age limit of 20 and has joined the unit’s adult staff team as a civilian instructor.

Cadet membership is open to young people, both male and female, aged 12 to 17.

“Not all cadets join because they want a career in the Royal Air Force or aerospace industry,” said Flt Lt James Elliott.

“Many join to experience the thrill of the wide range of activities that we offer and the opportunity to make lots of new friends.”

The squadroon meets on Mondays and Thursdays from 7.30pm to 9pm. For details, go to

Cadets of all nationalities, backgrounds and abilities are welcome.

Flt Lt Elliott added: “We are not a recruiting organisation for the armed forces.

“The air cadets are a Ministry of Defence-sponsored cadet force, and we have high standards that we expect new recruits to learn and display.

“Cadets are expected to take pride in their uniform and appearance, be well-mannered and self-disciplined.

“We are all about teaching independence and leadership. We want our young people to push themselves and try lots of new things to broaden their life experience.

“We also want recruits to join something they can be rightly proud of and become part of our extended family.

“Recruits will be expected to take part in as many of our activities as possible, such as flying, target-shooting, adventure-training, parades and ceremonial, fieldcraft, sports and a whole lot more.”