The results of the prestigious Dacre Sword, ATC 75 sword and Sir John Thompson Memorial Sword have been announced, awarded to the top cadets of the ATC and CCF (RAF).
The Dacre sword, presented to the top ATC cadet, has been awarded to Cadet Warrant Officer Zoe Webb of 1986 (Wymondham) Sqn. The runner-up, Cadet Flight Sergeant Mariam Mohsin of 34F (Balham and Tooting) Sqn, will receive the ATC75 sword.
CWO Webb has been a cadet for seven years and has several notable achievements under her belt, including completing the Junior Leaders course, and achieving her solo flight in the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme. Zoe has also completed her Silver Duke of Edinburgh award (and is close to finishing her Gold) and has attended the National Aerospace Camp. She is planning to join the Royal Air Force as a Physical Training Instructor but will become a volunteer with 1986 squadron in the meantime.
Commenting on being named the top ATC cadet, Zoe said, “I am overwhelmed to have received the Dacre sword for 2022. Having come from an unsettled background, an achievement of this magnitude is something I considered way out of my reach. It just goes to show that no matter where you’ve come from or what you’ve been through if you work hard anything is possible.
“After beginning out as a very shy cadet, the staff and cadets around me supported and guided me, the challenges and positions they put me in were way out of my comfort zone, but only now do I realise the importance of that. Looking back, I could’t be more thankful for the support I’ve received from the RAF Air Cadets. It has moulded me into the person I am today, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to take every opportunity possible, no matter how uncomfortable or out of the ordinary it may seem.”
Taking the award for top CCF (RAF) cadet, the coveted Sir John Thompson Memorial Sword, is Cadet FS Caroline Gardiner of Edinburgh Academy CCF (RAF).
Caroline has a host of achievements to her name, including a Gold Duke of Edinburgh award, the only CCF cadet in the final of RAFAC’s got talent (having taught herself guitar during the pandemic), and a drummer in the CCF Pipes band taking part in a beating retreat at Holyrood Palace in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Caroline is also Head Girl at Edinburgh Academy, respected by staff and pupils, and plays an active part in marking remembrance both at the school and in the community. She has her eyes set on becoming an RAF doctor once she has finished her studies.
She said, “Receiving this award is a huge honour and I am exceptionally grateful to the RAFAC and the Edinburgh Academy CCF for giving me the chance to be put forward for it. The RAF cadets has played a significant role in my school career, and it has allowed me to develop confidence, along with leadership and teamwork skills through the fantastic opportunities it presents. I highly encourage everyone to get involved in the RAFAC because you never know where it can take you and what you can learn.”
The ATC 75 Sword, presented to the runner-up for the top ATC cadet goes to Cadet FS Mariam Mohsion of 34F (Balham and Tooting) Squadron.
Since joining the ATC in 2017, Mariam has shown an outstanding commitment to both the organisation and her local community. Her cadet career covers the full spectrum of the cadet experience including delivering the Silver Leadership course, achieving her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, attended national camps including RIAT and Aerospace.
With an interest in Engineering, Mariam has pursued opportunities both within the RAF Air Cadets and outside the organisation and has been accepted onto the BAE Systems Aerospace Degree Apprenticeship through the. Air Cadet Fast Track Scheme. In addition to all her RAFAC commitments, she was recently appointed as the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for Greater London and has a busy schedule for high profile events to support, representing the RAF Air Cadets.
To be in with a chance of winning one of these top RAFAC awards, cadets must be nominated by their unit, endorsed by their respective chain of command, and go through filtering with their Regional Commandant, before being one of six ATC cadets and two CCF(RAF) cadets interviewed by Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Tony Keeling. The finalists not only have to show they have taken every opportunity available to them, and achieved qualifications and attended numerous activities, they must also show they have the core qualities that make them standout members of the organisation and their local community, and fantastic ambassadors for what we do.
On announcing this year’s winners, Air Commodore Keeling said, “It is a clear sign that the Royal Air Force Air Cadets have bounced back from the many challenges of the last two years listening to the many cadets shortlisted for these pinnacles of awards. A common thread amongst every finalist was their strong motivation to help others, especially young cadets on their own units or by supporting Contingent, Wing and Regional activities.
“Everyone I interviewed was a brilliant ambassador for their squadrons and sections, their schools, and the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, and I was humbled by the challenges they had overcome to achieve success and unlock their potential. I offer my congratulations to everyone who competed for these awards, and especially our three winners – every one of them epitomises the spirit of venture adventure.”
The winners will attend a special presentation event at RAF Cranwell later this year, where they will receive their award.