RAF News

The sky's the limit for former RAF Air Cadet

Image shows Aircraftman Alex Anderson wearing RAF Air Cadet uniform
Aircraftman Alex Anderson has dedicated himself to raising awareness among younger people about what he calls “invisible conditions”.

A former air cadet who is living his dream in the Royal Air Force has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for charitable services to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Aircraftman Alex Anderson, aged 20, of Newport who himself has Asperger’s syndrome, has dedicated himself to raising awareness among younger people about what he calls “invisible conditions”.

Mr Anderson said he was “just blown away” and “humbled” to receive the BEM, which follows previous recognition for his voluntary work including a Princess Diana Award, a South Wales Argus Pride of Gwent Award and being named the CVQO Westminster Award winner 2018.

Alex, who began basic training with the RAF in December, said it had been his dream to join the RAF and champion people with conditions such as his own.

“I never let a label define me and if I can do this anyone can,” said Alex, who recommends joining air cadets to all young people.

“Air cadets is like anything in life, you get out of it what you put in. It helps to develop your confidence and offers experiences and memories that stay with you for the rest of your life. Through air cadets I was lucky enough to go to South Africa which was amazing.”

Aircraftman Alex Anderson

The former 1367 (Caerleon) Squadron cadet and John Frost High School pupil said his positive experiences at the school’s dedicated unit for children with ASD, made him realise he wanted to do something to help others.

Alex who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of nine and faced difficulties when he was younger which impacted his health, put this behind him in order to help others, always doing his best to do right by people. This included helping fellow students to settle into school.

He says he does not regard his condition as a disadvantage, rather something that enables him to reach out and help people in his community.

“It was wonderful to read about Aircraftsman Alex Anderson’s award of a BEM. In his recent years as an Air Cadet in Caerleon, he has worked tirelessly to support many charities, in particular those working in the area of autism spectrum disorder, where he has made an important and lasting contribution.

“This is fantastic recognition of Alex’s achievements and the whole of the RAF warmly congratulates him on his BEM. As he now starts his RAF service, we also wish him every success in his future RAF career. Da iawn Alex!”

Air Commodore Adrian Williams OBE
Air Officer Wales

Over the years Alex has also raised money for charities such as St David’s, Macmillan Cancer Support and the T? Hafan children’s hospice through a hanging basket business that he used to run, from which he donated £1 from the price of every item sold. He’s netted further funds by taking part in fun runs and abseiling from the Newport Transporter Bridge.

All in all he’s freely given more than 1,000 hours of his time, an achievement recognised by an award from the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations.

Flight Sergeant Richard Renshaw of 1367 (Caerleon) Squadron said all at No 1 Welsh Wing were delighted to hear that one of their former air cadets had been awarded a prestigious BEM.

“We tell all our cadets to strive towards any and all awards/ qualifications on offer to them both inside and outside our organisation if they meet the requirements for them. Without any prompting from us Alex's desire and determination to find and complete these awards/qualifications was admirable and it was inspiring to constantly have him coming up with paperwork to fill in or people to contact to set him up on the awards.”

Flight Sergeant Richard Renshaw
1367 (Caerleon) Squadron

 

Welsh / Cymraeg

Posibiliadau di-ben-draw i gyn-gadet awyr

Mae cyn-gadet awyr sy'n gwireddu ei freuddwyd yn yr Awyrlu Brenhinol wedi ennill Medal yr Ymerodraeth Brydeinig (BEM) am wasanaethau elusennol i bobl ag Anhwylder Sbectrwm Awtistiaeth (ASD).

Mae'r awyrennwr Alex Anderson, 20 oed, o Gasnewydd, sydd â syndrom Asperger ei hun, wedi ymroi i godi ymwybyddiaeth ymhlith pobl iau o'r hyn y mae'n eu galw'n "gyflyrau anweledig”.

Dywedodd Mr Anderson ei fod yn hynod falch o fod wedi derbyn y BEM, sy'n dilyn cydnabyddiaeth flaenorol am ei waith gwirfoddol, gan gynnwys Gwobr y Dywysoges Diana, Gwobr Balchder Gwent y South Wales Argus a chael ei enwi'n enillydd Gwobr CVQO San Steffan 2018.

Dywedodd Alex, a ddechreuodd hyfforddiant sylfaenol gyda'r Awyrlu Brenhinol ym mis Rhagfyr, mai ei freuddwyd oedd ymuno â'r Awyrlu Brenhinol a hyrwyddo pobl â chyflyrau fel ei un ef.

“Dydw i byth yn gadael i label fy niffinio i, ac os galla i wneud hyn, gall unrhyw un," meddai Alex, a fyddai'n argymell y dylai unrhyw berson ifanc ymuno â'r cadetiaid awyr.

“Mae'r cadetiaid awyr fel unrhyw beth mewn bywyd, rydych chi'n cael ohono yr hyn rydych chi'n ei roi iddo. Mae'n helpu i ddatblygu eich hyder ac yn cynnig profiadau ac atgofion sy'n aros gyda chi gydol oes. Drwy'r cadetiaid awyr, roeddwn i'n ddigon ffodus i fynd i Dde Affrica, a oedd yn anhygoel.”

Mae'r awyrennwr Alex Anderson

Dywedodd y cyn-gadét Sgwadron 1367 (Caerllion) a disgybl Ysgol Uwchradd John Frost fod ei brofiadau cadarnhaol yn uned bwrpasol yr ysgol ar gyfer plant ag Anhwylder Sbectrwm Awtistiaeth wedi gwneud iddo sylweddoli ei fod am wneud rhywbeth i helpu eraill.

Fe wnaeth Alex, a gafodd ddiagnosis o syndrom Asperger pan oedd yn naw oed ac a wynebodd anwasterau pan oedd yn iau a effeithiodd ar ei iechyd, roi'r cyfan y tu ôl iddo er mwyn helpu eraill, gan wneud ei orau dros bobl bob amser. Roedd hyn yn cynnwys helpu cyd-fyfyrwyr i setlo yn yr ysgol.

Mae'n dweud nad yw'n ystyried ei gyflwr fel anfantais ond, yn hytrach, fel rhywbeth sy'n ei alluogi i estyn allan a helpu pobl yn ei gymuned.

“Hyfryd oedd darllen an ddyfarniad BEM i’r Awyrenwr Alex Anderson. Yn ystod ei flynyddoedd diweddar fel Cadet Awyr yng Nghaerllion, mae wedi gweithio’n ddiflino i gefnogi llawer o elusennau, yn enwedig y rhai sy’n gweithio i gefnogi’r rheini ag anhwylder sbectrwm awtisiaeth, lle mae wedi gwneud cyfraniad pwysig a pharhaol.

"Mae hyn yn gydnabyddiaeth wych o gyflawniadau Alex ac mae’r RAF cyfan yn ei longyfarch yn gynnes ar ei BEM.  Gan ei fod bellach wedi dechrau yn yr RAF, rydym hefyd yn dumuno pob llwyddiant iddo yn ei yrfa RAF yn y dyfodol. Da iawn Alex”

Comodor yr Awyrlu Adrian Williams
Swyddog Awyr Cymru

Dros y blynyddoedd, mae wedi codi arian i elusennauhefyd, megis St David's, Cymorth Canser Macmillan a hosbis plant T? Hafan drwy fusnes basgedi crog yr arferai ei redeg, gan roi £1 o bris pob eitem a werthwyd. Mae wedi sicrhau arian pellach drwy gymryd rhan mewn rasys hwyl ac abseilio o Bont Gludo Casnewydd.

Mae wedi rhoi mwy na 1,000 o oriau o'i amser, sy'n gyflawniad a gydnabyddir gan wobr gan Gymdeithas Mudiadau Gwirfoddol Gwent.

Dywedodd yr Awyr-ringyll Richard Renshaw o Sgwadron 1367 (Caerllion) fod pawb yn Adain Gymreig Rhif 1 yn falch iawn o glywed bod un o'u cyn-gadetiaid awyr wedi derbyn BEM.

"Rydym yn dweud wrth ein holl gadetiaid i ymdrechu tuag at unrhyw ddyfarniadau/cymwysterau sydd ar gael iddyn nhw y tu mewn a'r tu allan i'n sefydliad os ydyn nhw'n bodloni'r gofynion ar eu cyfer. Heb unrhyw anogaeth gennym ni, roedd awydd a phenderfynoldeb Alex i ddod o hyd i'r dyfarniadau/cymwysterau hyn a'u cwblhau yn ganmoladwy, ac roedd yn ysbrydoledig ei fod yn dod o hyd i waith papur i'w lenwi neu bobl i gysylltu â nhw i'w roi ar ben ffordd ar gyfer y gwobrau.”

Awyr-ringyll Richard Renshaw
Sgwadron 1367 (Caerllion)

 

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