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New RAF Air Cadets training centre opens at RAF Wittering

The new RAF Air Cadet Training centre has officially opened at Royal Air Force Wittering. Our four million pound centre is finally complete… and it was worth the wait!

Mural of Cadet Gaskell
Mural in the entrance lobby of Gaskell Block

The wonderful facility will be a great asset for cadets with a self-contained block containing accommodation for over one hundred cadets and overnight facilities on the base.   The second block contains training facilities for the use of Cadets from across the UK including classroom facilities, media suites, VR kits and an indoor rifle range.

The idea was conceived around nine years ago with the money for the project secured from LIBOR Funding – to the Cadet Expansion Programme.  LIBOR funding is a grant scheme from HM Treasury funded from the fines imposed on International Banks.  The project received the full backing of the Station Commander at RAF Wittering and our own Commandant RAFAC as well as many personnel within the headquarters.

The special guests at the opening were the families of Cadets Gaskell and Jarman who sadly lost their lives due to terminal illness during their cadet service. The accommodation block is named after Grace Gaskell and the training block after Rosie Jarman. Their inspirational families were the guests of honour for the ceremony and saw how their daughters will continue to inspire the next generation.

Entrance lobby to Jarman Block
Entrance lobby to Jarman Block

Commandant RAFAC, Air Commodore Tony Keeling officially opened the building. He said:

“Both cadets, in their own ways, were the epitome of our ‘Venture Adventure’ motto and it is hoped reflection of their experiences and view of life in the entrance of each block will serve as a memorial to them and an inspiration to others.

It was wonderful that Rosie’s and Grace’s families were able to join us for the opening ceremony and see how their daughters will continue to inspire the next generation for many years to come.

A very big thank you to the Station Commander, Infrastructure Team and Youth Engagement team at RAF Wittering, and our own Training Academy team for their imagination, tenacity and sheer hard work to make this happen, it is very much appreciated.”

Air Commodore Keeling
Commandant RAF Air Cadets

The centre is owned by the RAF Air Cadets and staffed by contracted personnel, which is funded through the Cadet Expansion Programme, to allow school and community cadets to access training facilities 365 days of the year. The facilities will significantly increase the value of training the RAF Air Cadets can provide cadets, and it is hoped that other stations will follow suit with dedicated cadets facilities on site.

Cadets using VR kits
Training facilities at the new RAF Wittering Cadet Centre

RAF Wittering’s Station Commander, Wing Commander Nicola Duncan said: "It’s a real honour for RAF Wittering to have the blocks on site and inspire the next generation. We would encourage other stations to follow our lead – it’s been a wonderful evening at the official opening and meeting members of the families of the two inspirational girls who we are honoured to have on station – their memories will always be part of our Wittering heritage.”