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14 February 2017

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The Duchess of Cambridge today (Feb 14th 2017) joined young air cadets at RAF Wittering taking part in their first camp.

As the Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets she attended Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing’s Skill Development Camp and met several cadets experiencing their first camp.

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge visits Royal Air Force Wittering.

Cadets and RAF Air Cadet instructors led the Duchess through a range of activities including flying training on a simulator, leadership exercises and more.

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge visits Royal Air Force Wittering.

The Duchess was also shown the Tutor aircraft which thousands of cadets use each year for air experience flights.

Showing the Duchess around the aircraft was Cadet Sergeant Jordan Bertalaso, 17, of 1406 (Spalding) Squadron, a qualified aerospace instructor.

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge visits Royal Air Force Wittering.

Cadet Sergeant Jordan Bertalaso said: “Flying is my favourite air cadet activity and it was an honour to show the Duchess the layout of the Tutor cockpit, particularly as the aircraft is used by cadets for air experience.

“It’s incredible to have such a high profile Royal as our Patron, especially as she has strong links to the Royal Air Force with her husband being a former pilot.”

Spalding air cadets Erin Hope, 14; Emily Empringham, 15, and Joshua Wait, 14 - also met the Duchess at the aircraft.

Later, HRH also took the controls of a flight simulator with help from Flight Lieutenant Michael Salter. She also joined in a leadership exercise demonstrating effective planning and communication skills.

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge visits Royal Air Force Wittering.

At the end of the visit, the Duchess was invited to join the cadets and volunteer staff for a camp photo and was presented with a limited edition RAF Air Cadet 75th anniversary print by Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty.

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge visits Royal Air Force Wittering.

This is the third occasion that HRH the Duchess of Cambridge has met with cadets since HRH The Duke of Edinburgh handed patronage of the national youth organisation to her in December 2015.

Her prior engagements involving air cadets have included the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire in July 2016 and the launch of the RAF Air Cadet 75th anniversary celebrations in London in February 2016.

The event was held at RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire, which is one of the oldest RAF bases and has played a key role in military operations and the development of air power since 1916.

Camps are an important part of the RAF Air Cadet experience and take place at RAF bases across the country and are centred around leadership, personal development, aerospace, music and more.

Some senior cadets even take part in the International Air Cadet Exchange Programme which includes countries such as Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.

Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore McCafferty said: “It was a delight to see the Duchess again and to witness her engaging with our young cadets and adult volunteers in such a relaxed manner.

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge visits Royal Air Force Wittering.

“Her personal support of the RAF Air Cadets is very much appreciated and I am sure those lucky enough to meet her today will keep those memories for a lifetime.”

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge visits Royal Air Force Wittering.

RAF Wittering Station Commander, Group Captain Richard Pratley said: “It has been an honour to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge to RAF Wittering to see some of the facilities we offer to cadets to help inspire the next generation.”

Editor: Ed Palmer

Photographer: Cpl Paul Robertshaw & SAC Abigail Drewett

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2017

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