ATC Sunday 2023 – with a surprise guest!

Squadron banners

Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC) from across Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing paraded this weekend to commemorate the 82nd anniversary since the formation of the Air Training Corps (ATC).  For the first time since lockdown, the Wing has seen over 350 personnel on parade at DITG Chicksands.

The parade was led by cadets of the Wing Band under the guidance of Flight Sergeant Ben Ellis from 105 (Cambourne) Squadron.  Every year local squadrons meet  together for smaller Sector parades, celebrating what is known as “ATC Sunday” on the anniversary of the Corps’ formation.  Gathering so many cadets and staff for one parade has been an opportunity we’ve looked forward to since 2019. Taking the salute and inspecting the parade was Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Richard Maddison OBE MA RAF, Air Officer Commanding 22 Group, Royal Air Force.  AVM Maddison is no stranger to the ATC as he has flown around 1200 air cadet sorties  and he is in command of the RAF Group that oversees the RAFAC.

Air Vice Marshal Richard Maddison talks to members of the Wing band

Air Vice Marshal said on parade he is “as proud of the ATC now as he was when he joined as a cadet almost 40 years ago.”  A previous parade banner bearer himself, AVM Maddison said he recognised the training and dedication needed to achieve the high standard as he witnessed on our parade.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming His Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, Colonel Sidney Abrahams TD DL, and His Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire, Mr Christopher Walkinshaw. In addition, we also welcomed Group Captain Dave Boreham BSc (Hons) RAF, who is the Regional Commandant of Central & Eastern Region, which contains Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing.  This was Group Captain Boreham’s first Beds & Cambs Wing parade since he joined the Region in June 2022. 

Mr Walkinshaw, AVM Maddison, Colonel Abrahams & Group Captain Boreham

Group Captain Boreham commented he was “delighted see the look of pride on the cadet’s faces as they saluted the reviewing officers.”

Wing Commander Rob Bradshaw RAFAC, Officer Commanding Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing, said the parade filled him with immense pride to have the opportunity to parade the Wing in front of AVM Maddison, and congratulations to all the cadets and staff on parade, plus the staff who were assisting behind the scenes.

As well as our Wing banner, carried by Cadet Sergeant Jake Ross of 2462 (Oakley) Squadron, each of our 28 Squadrons also paraded their own banner. 

Wing banner party from 2462 (Oakley) Squadron, led by Sgt Jake Ross

Sgt Ross said “It is an incredible honour for Oakley Squadron to be forming the Beds and Cambs banner team for the 82nd ATC Sunday, one of the most important cadet events of the year. It places us at the helm of this prestigious event and is testimony to how hard the Squadron has worked and how much it has developed over the past year. I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be the Wing Banner bearer, and we all thoroughly enjoyed attending the event.  It will be a valuable memory for years to come.”

Flight Sergeant Banks of 2484 (Bassingbourn) Squadron said she found the atmosphere amazing and loved being part of the parade as a banner bearer

Thanks go to the team organising the event as well as our guests, volunteer staff and, of course, the cadets who took part.

Photo credits: Squadron Leader James Miles, Wing Executive Officer Chris Cox, Flying Officer Liz Blake and Civilian Instructor Chris Wiggins.