There are a number of reasons why 1989 was a good year for me but the one to talk about is my trouncing of my ATC squadron for awards. As listed in this communication I won four of the awards that year.
Cadet Of The Year
NCO i/c Flight Of The Year
I am very proud of these. I still have the personal trophy for Cadet of the Year.
I recently attended a meal in celebration of thirty five years of 309 squadron and it was a good bash. It was lovely to see lots of faces from the old days. The trophies were on display and although my names are no longer on the prizes given out now – there’s not enough space for the new names and so new trophies were bought – I could see the old trophies around the room along with plenty of clippings in the scrap books.
There was also a presentation on the large screen with plenty of photographs from the old days. A fair few had me in them, mind you I was involved for over ten years.
The above photograph has John Trant, Lisa Slater, me, Flt Lt Andrew Passfield OC 309, Jamie Hubbard, Dean Willetts and Simon McGarry. We are the ones who won prizes in 1989.
That’s me playing the fife as the band marched down the town high street.
I have just returned from a lovely couple of days away at Amport House in Hampshire. It’s a lovely setting near Andover where the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre is housed. I spent time there on an ACO Personal Awareness Course. Although the course is based at the chaplaincy centre it is a non-religious course which is probably just as well for me as I am completely not-religious and verging on anti-religious. However, the centre made sure that my bedroom was closest to the chapel and my door was literally next door to the chapel organ.
There were a number of cadets there from all over the country. It was a good mix and they all got along quite quickly. This bonding does tend to happen as they already have a common interest. The whole weekend was non-uniform and first names only, even for staff-cadet relationships. This made it an environment suited for the discussions we had. The aim was to raise the personal awareness of the cadets in an intra and inter-personal way. They were tasked to think about dealing with others but also knowing themselves. I am sure all the cadets got a great deal from the experience and it is unlike any other course available in our pseudo-military organisation.
The house itself has been in the military since the second world war. It has always been used for the chaplaincy and is currently the centre for the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The gardens were designed by Lutyens and Jekyll and are grade one listed, they are lovely.
Part of the garden was the oldest pleached limes in the country. These are lime trees which have been trained over many years to provide a hedge. These particular ones are designed so that courting couples could walk in privacy between the trees but the chaperones could see their feet and ensure they didn’t get too close to each other from outside the centre walkway.
It would have been nice to see these in bloom and leaved but maybe next time. On the whole it was a good weekend and I really enjoyed myself. Sitting outside during a break ready a book surrounded by such a wonderful setting was delightfully relaxing.
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