Commemorating 80 years of Air Cadets

On the 5th February 1941, the Air Training Corps was officially established with King George VI as the Air Commodore-in-Chief. This is an incredible 80 years ago, and to recognise this milestone in our history, Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire Wing Commander Tony Kelly sends this message:

Whilst very few of us are 80, there is a long history amongst many of our volunteers. One thing that we all share with our younger members is the sense of belonging we have within an organisation that employs its legacy whilst adapting and evolving to positively shape the futures of all members. A literal esprit de Corps!

With 42 years’ service, I sit somewhere in the middle. I have had the honour and privilege to have been front and centre at some glorious and historic occasions. Sadly, I’ve also personally experienced some of the tragic events in the Corps history and seen the passing of fellow members of all ages. Even in these saddest of times, I’m always buoyed by the Air Cadet family coming together to provide support to each other.

This past year has clearly been one of the most challenging whatever your age, circumstances and length of service. I am truly proud of the resilience shown in ensuring that we deliver the cadet experience in the best way we can. It is worth reminding you of the offers of support that are available if you are finding it particularly challenging. You are not alone. We are beginning the march out from these restricted times and I am pleased to note that 29 units are now cleared for face to face (F2F) return when circumstances allow. The final unit will be ready once F2F training allows the staff to requalify in their first aid. This has been a mammoth and long running task. It is one that has realised the true spirit of Venture Adventure. You have been a part of that, so well done and thank you.

I look forward to celebrating ATC Sunday with the Eastern Sector. Looking ahead there are a number of activities hitting the portals for this year. These incorporate the proposed RAFAC 80 anniversary events and projects. Stand by for more details, but these include the collaboration with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission; the RAFAC’s Got Talent competition; a specific radio call sign – GB80ATC; and the 80 in 80 Challenge working collaboratively with the RAF Benevolent Fund. This latter one will see Mrs Kelly and I, dusting off our walking boots to complete the Hadrian’s Wall coast to coast walk in the summer.

So, as I ask you to join me in celebrating our anniversary, I thank you for your past and continuing service, and urge you to look ahead to events that are in train and get involved.

Venture Adventure!

A J Kelly
Officer Commanding
Beds & Cambs Wing ATC