Former air cadet takes over Dunmow squadron

A FORMER air cadet has pledged to give teenagers “the same opportunities” he had after taking the reigns of a Dunmow squadron.

A ceremony to formally hand over Dunmow 999 Cadets to Officer Commanding David Wilding was held last week in the Drill Hall in the High Street.

The 23-year-old, who takes over from Squadron Leader Jo Brooks, is hoping to boost cadet numbers from 12 to 25 by the end of the year by offering “once in a lifetime” opportunities.

“The Air Cadets offer a range of activities from rifle shooting and water sports to flying and first aid,” Mr Wilding told the Broadcast.

“We give young people the chance to gain qualifications that they wouldn’t otherwise have while they meet new people and make new friends.

“It is a great confidence booster.”

Mr Wilding joined the air cadets in Braintree when he was 13 and stayed until he was 20. He was then a member of staff at Halstead cadets before joining 494 Stansted Airport Squadron.

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He is excited to be taking charge of his first group of cadets.

“It is a nice time to start because I will have a full 12-month programme to see the cadets develop.

“I am hoping it will be an eventful year and I can give the cadets as many activities to take part in as possible,” he said.

To generate interest, Mr Wilding will be visiting The Helena Romanes School on January 18, and will hold an open evening on January 19 at 8.15pm in the Drill Hall.

• At Friday’s ceremony, Flying Officer Jason Webb was presented his Cadet Forces Medal by WC Glenn Mayes following 12 years commissioned service as a RAF volunteer reserve officer.