To celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Air Cadets, former cadet and retired RAF Squadron Leader Emma Wolstenholme will row solo across the Atlantic in a World Record breaking attempt. She is hoping to inspire as many young people as possible along the way while also raising money for the RAF Air Cadets' Charity. When the Commandant of the Air Cadets asked Emma if she would be their Ambassador, she jumped at the chance to inspire the next generation.
On Thursday 18 November, Emma travelled to RAF Cranwell with her ocean rowing boat and was presented with her Cadet Forces Commission in the rank of Wing Commander on assuming the role of Honorary Ambassador – joining forces with the Air Cadets' other Ambassador, Honorary Group Captain Carol Vorderman.
Leaving from the Canary Islands in a 20 ft rowing boat at the end of January 2022, arriving 3,000 nautical miles later in the Caribbean, Emma hopes to break the World Record set by Anne Quemere of 56 days, 13 hours and 9 minutes.
"I believe my mental strength and self-belief stems from when I was an Air Cadet, actively embracing all the opportunities open to me. The team spirit often spurred me to literally push myself to the edge, once abseiling head-first over a cliff, continuing safely after slipping on the wet rock face, dangling upside-down but under the expert guidance of the instructors."
Emma believes this attitude will stand her in good stead and is confident she can deal with anything by remaining calm and following all the right drills, even when facing 15 metre waves in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
"I was the shyest girl in the school and wasn’t very popular. The only reason you would talk to me was for the answers to your maths homework!" Burnley girl Emma explained that joining the Air Cadets gave her a sense of adventure, self-confidence and a real robustness that would set her on track for a successful career in the RAF.
It is for this reason that she has set the target of raising £80,000 for the Air Cadets 80th year and is funding the entire row herself. While the Air Cadets develops leadership skills, self-discipline, confidence and more, the money raised will support Air Cadets as they embark on their next step in life, be that education or a career. It is aimed at senior cadets and junior adult volunteers who need it the most and a grant can be awarded to help give them that ‘flying start’, no matter their background.
You can help Emma inspire the next generation by donating at her Justgiving page www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/SoloAtlanticRow or connecting through social media .
Commandant Air Cadets Air Commodore Anthony Keeling said:
‘I have known Emma for a long time and have always been inspired by her amazing spirit of adventure, but it is only recently that I became aware that this spirit was fostered during her time with 352 (Burnley) Squadron Air Training Corps. Emma’s solo and unassisted world record attempt is inspiring, the fact that she is using it as a platform to raise funds for the Air Cadet Development Trust is humbling, and it is heartening to know that so many Air Cadets and young Volunteers will benefit directly from Emma’s amazing endeavour. Emma is the epitome of the Air Cadet motto ‘Venture Adventure’ and she will be a fantastic addition to our Ambassador team. From everyone in the Air Cadet family, welcome aboard Emma and we wish you every success in your Atlantic Roar!’