I’ve been a cadet for four years now. I initially joined because I was bored, and keen to find something different to do with my free time. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Within months of being enrolled I was already getting to do so many new and interesting activities.
I have been on many camps including at RAF Cosford, RAF Odiham, RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and RAF Valley in Wales. I’ve flown in the Tutor, a Tiger Moth Bi-Plane, a Chinook and even a Hercules whilst on a special visit to Sweden. I was also fortunate enough to undertake a gliding scholarship.
Beyond the flying and gliding, there are a huge number of specialist camps and training courses that are available through the RAF Air Cadets. I’ve gained qualifications in First Aid, radio communications, Duke of Edinburgh Award, BTEC in Teamwork and even an ILM level 3 qualification in leadership and management. On top of this, I’ve also been part of the organisation’s national choir, which has involved some really enjoyable weeks away at RAF Conningsby and RAF Cranwell.
As well as all of this, I’ve also been heavily involved in sports. I joined the squadron swimming team, and then competed in the Wing Gala. I came away with three gold medals and went on to represent the wing, and later the region! I was delighted to be named as the Female Sports Cadet of the Year in 2016, which meant I was presented with a trophy at the RAF Air Cadets Annual Awards Ceremony at RAF College Cranwell. This led on to one of the most exciting things I’ve been able to do as a cadet – take part in the ATC 75th Anniversary Cross Channel Swim.
This involved an intense training schedule, including throughout the winter months! Even though I compete as a triathlete, this is still some of the most gruelling training you can imagine… however, it was worth it for the end result, which culminated with the team successfully completing the 21 mile relay swim across the English Channel. The team made it across in 11 hours 42 minutes, which we were very proud of. Sadly the weather meant that not all teams were able to complete the swim, but undeterred and with the help of some very committed adult volunteers, we made it back for another try the following year. I felt very privileged to be asked for a second time to represent the RAF Air Cadets Cross Channel Swim Team. It was a great experience, and it was also great fun to visit the BFBS radio station, where we were interviewed about the swim.
I have been fortunate to gain some remarkable achievements in my time so far as an air cadet and I would love to be able to gain a flying scholarship. I am looking ahead to some further exciting opportunities with the cadets and I would also like to help to inspire the next generation of air cadets. After completing my time as an air cadet I would like to volunteer as a staff member and then hopefully have a career within the RAF.