Squadron is named best in the country

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Young people and adult volunteers at 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron are celebrating after being named the best air cadet unit in the UK.

The young people, aged 13 to 19, and their adult volunteers, had undergone two previous inspections at local and regional levels before representing the region in the Sir Alan Lees Trophy competition.

The three inspected areas included training achievements and output, a formal parade and a third strand which is not detailed, but described as the ‘wow factor’.

This is the first time the air cadet squadron has competed in the competition in its 57-year history and the first time a unit from North Tyneside has won.

Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, visited the Benton-based squadron as part of the national competition.

Full of praise for the squadron, she said: “Getting to the final six in the Lees Trophy makes every squadron a winner and after visiting Longbenton it made my decision to select the best of the best exceptionally tough, but the squadron has such a fantastic buzz about it.

“The work undertaken over recent years and the success enjoyed is amazing.”