Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty (left) - Group Captain John Lawlor (centre) - Air Commodore Tony Keeling (right)
Today saw the baton of command for the RAF Air Cadets handed over from Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty to Air Commodore Tony Keeling.
Tony does not formally take up post until September 21st so until then RAF Air Cadets (RAFAC) has an Interim Commandant – Group Capt John Lawlor.
Dawn has been Commandant for eight years and is retiring to the South West. John has been Chief of Staff at HQ RAFAC for 10 years – a job he will continue to do after Tony becomes Commandant in September.
Fortunately the rain just held off for the handover at HQ RAFAC at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
Air Commodore McCafferty said: “It has been a genuine privilege to command the RAF Air Cadets for the last 8 years and, whilst I am sorry to be leaving, I know the organisation is in great shape and in safe hands for the future. I thank all members of the RAF Air Cadets for their support and friendship and wish them continuing success.”
Air Commodore Keeling said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the next Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets. As a former cadet myself, I am a huge fan of the ATC and CCF and the brilliance, ambition and achievements of the cadets, but I know that the organization would not enjoy its high reputation without the determination and commitment of an excellent team of permanent staff working with an amazing network of adult volunteers.”
Group Capt Lawlor said: “It is a privilege to hold the fort so to speak for two months until Air Commodore Keeling arrives. I wish Air Commodore McCafferty a wonderful retirement.”
Air Commodore Keeling, a former air cadet from 145 (Altrincham & Hale) Squadron, is an RAF engineer by profession and his last post was as the A4 Force Commander directing all engineering and logistics trades as well as RAF Photography and the RAF Music Services.
Before handing over the baton of command, Air Commodore McCafferty presented two awards to HQ RAFAC permanent staffer Mrs Jayne Maddison and to volunteer Warrant Officer Donna Hall for their work. The new awards for “outstanding staff member” and “outstanding volunteer” will be presented annually.
Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty with Mrs Jayne Maddison
Jayne said: “The award came out of the blue. A complete surprise. I am both delighted and shocked in equal measure. I feel extremely proud that I was even considered.”
Warrant Officer Donna Hall with Air Commodore McCafferty
Donna, who is the Warrant Officer for Wales & West Region ATC, said: “I feel exceptionally honoured and humbled to receive this award. To be the recipient of this inaugural award has left me a bit speechless.”
Both wished Air Commodore McCafferty well for her retirement.