North Tyneside MP, Mary Glindon, flew in to join air cadets from 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron as they celebrated the formation of the Air Training Corps, 78 years ago.
The air cadets, who are situated on the site of Second World War base RAF Longbenton, led a 200 strong congregation at St Bartholomew’s Church, to mark the special occasion.
Mrs Glindon presented the young people with BTEC Qualifications, Sports Leaders awards, cyber and radio awards and officially enrolled new members.
Mrs Glindon said, “This is the eighth year that I’ve attended the celebratory service and I always look forward to it.
The young people are an amazing group, who enjoy such amazing success in what they do and across so many fields.
The adult volunteers give their time to make such a positive impact to individual lives and it has a positive impact on the community, so I thank them for all that they do.”
The cadets led the celebratory service, with Celine Gray, 13, saying, “I joined cadets because all of my friends were joining, but that’s not why I stayed. I stayed because of the opportunities offered to me.
“In a short space of time, I’ve flown an aircraft, taken part in a Remembrance Service and gained much more confidence.”
Leo Allan, 15, said, I have achieved so much through the Air Cadets; not only awards and qualifications, but also achieving in the community through supporting the Poppy Appeal and carrying-out conservation work.
Just being a cadet gives me happiness. It brings me a sense of pride, self-worth and joy.”
To conclude the event, the Squadron band performed a special repertoire, aptly named ‘Enjoy the Present, which included favorites ‘Blaydon Races’ and ‘Highland Cathedral’.
Longbenton Squadron is currently open to new members in Year 8 and above. If you’re up for a challenge then visit squadron at www.2344.org.uk.