There were mixed emotions for the cadets and staff of 1440 Shoreham-by-Sea Squadron, Air Training Corps, as they welcomed new members and said farewell to an old friend.
Six new members of the squadron were enrolled in front of their friends and families on December 6, after joining the group at the beginning of October.
Cadets Josef Triyantoro, Katie Atkinson, Benjamin Broxup, Alex Ciangola-Sada, Lauren Alford, all 13, and Abiola Cele, 14, have already completed their British Heart Foundation Heart Start training.
They will now go on to complete their basic training that will let them participate in the full range of activities.
Cadet Lauren Alford said: “I am really looking forward to being able to fly with cadets and also go on summer camp to an RAF base.”
The event full of excitement and happiness was tinged with sadness however, as the man conducting the enrolments, the Rev Dr Mark Betson, undertook his last duty with the squadron.
Mark, who during his ten years with 1440 has enrolled hundreds of cadets, is moving to Cambridge to take a new job as the Church of England’s national rural officer.
Mark said: “It has been a real privilege to be part of the squadron for the past few years and I will miss spending time with the cadets and watching them achieve as they grow into young adults. In my new job I will be helping people from rural communities across the country, supporting families and young people to enable them to thrive.”
Flying officer William Bruce, the squadron’s commanding officer, was enrolled as a cadet by Mark.
He said: “Mark’s contribution as the squadron padre has been outstanding and we will really miss him. He has been a trusted friend to the cadets, staff and support committee, always ready to offer support and help wherever it is needed. We wish him every success in his new job.”
All of the cadets and staff gave Mark a rousing send off and are looking forward to seeing him again next year as guest of honour at the squadron’s annual dinner and presentation evening.
Members of the group take part in a range of activities including flying and gliding and it is open to young people aged 12, in year eight at school, to 18.
They meet twice a week in Eastern Avenue, Shoreham, and are keen to recruit new cadets and adult volunteers with a background in aviation to help deliver opportunities to cadets.
Anybody interested in joining should contact flying officer William Bruce by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.1440sqn.org for more information.