Twenty-nine RAF Air Cadets from nine different squadrons across Bristol & Gloucestershire Wing completed a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expedition last weekend. Fifteen cadets from 181 (City of … Continue Reading
A week ago disaster struck the Speedwell based 1860 squadron Air Cadets when their minibus was set on fire by anarchists who linked the youth group falsely with the NATO conference in Wales. The bus was not only used to transport them on visits and training activities, but also to community events where they assist as part of their duty supporting the organisers. The reaction of shock and disappointment could not be hidden from staff and cadets when they saw the burned out husk of the minibus and they immediately cancelled all external activities.
The Squadron used social media to inform everyone what had happened, where it soon spread. The press picked up the story due to the linking with NATO and made it a main feature. The Squadron has been overwhelmed by ex-members, and well-wishers, wanting to contribute. Superintendent Paul Richards of the Somerset & Avon police heard about the incident and offered one of their ex public vehicle minibuses as a replacement. Flg Off Audrey Smart, OC of 1860 squadron, said “It has been a trying time but there has been a fantastic public response, the cadets are over the moon with the police replacement minibus. The last bus was called “Mossy” but the new one will be called “Bobby”. 1860 squadron will still continue to raise funds to replace the contents lost in the fire. Cadet Flight Sergeant Joanna Wrobel said “we went to many places in the old minibus and I have lots of memories and now they’re gone, but through the generosity of the police we can continue to take part in activities”.
Superintendent Paul Richards of the Avon and Somerset police who presented the minibus to the squadron said “I am pleased that we could help such a worthy cause, I am sure that the cadets will have many years of use from the minibus”.
1860 squadron is a thriving unit of 12 – 20 year old young people who enjoy the comradeship, adventure, and activities organised by the volunteer staff of the unit. The minibus will take them to gliding, flying, sports, and outdoor activities such as Duke of Edinburgh’s Award training. The Air Training Corps aims are to promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people, provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life, and encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.