ATC Sunday Parade – Dorset

Air Cadets from across Dorset recently celebrated two special anniversaries at Christchurch Priory.More than 200 cadets and staff were joined by Wing Commander Vanessa Toth, Officer Commanding Dorset Wilts Wing, to mark Air Training Corps Sunday, the annual founding celebration.

Wing Commander Toth
Wing Commander Toth giving her sermon


But the event had an added significance as it marked the 75th anniversary of the older Air Defence Cadet Corps, of which three Dorset squadrons – 130 (Bournemouth), 149 (Poole) and 171 (Christchurch) – were among the first units in the country.

To mark the occasion the cadets paraded into the Priory for a service, joined by civic dignitaries including Bournemouth Mayor Rod Cooper, after which they enjoyed refreshments at the Royal British Legion in Bargates.

Christchurch unit commander Adrian Hutchinson said: “The cadets all know about the history of the squadron and it is a source of pride for them to know ours is among the oldest in the country. There is a good bit of rivalry between the units so it is a great thing to have.

Standards paraded
Standards paraded into the Priory for a service

“We have our banner here today, which is also 75 years old, and I think they appreciate having something tangible to make them more aware of our heritage.”

As well as flying planes and gliders at Upavon and Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, cadets enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, sports and opportunities to learn new skills such as model making, and the corps aims to inspire confidence and leadership skills. Cadets also take part in military, civic and remembrance events across the county.


Countries Youngest Fully Qualified Gliding Instructor

Air Cadet Drew Giggins has been awarded his Grade One Wings, making him one of the countries youngest fully qualified gliding instructors at the age of just 18.

Air Cadet Drew Giggins
Cadet Flight Sergeant Drew Giggins


Flight Sergeant Giggins, a cadet of 149 (Poole) Squadron, is a Flight Staff Cadet at 622 Volunteer Gliding Squadron based at Upavon in Wiltshire.  Following completion of his two-year training course, which included both theoretical and practical subjects, he is now qualified to provide initial experience flights for younger air cadets – including his fellow cadets at Poole Squadron.
“This is a massive achievement for an 18 year old cadet” said Squadron Leader Steve Goddard, Officer Commanding the Gliding Squadron, “He is a great role model for younger cadets”.
Drew, a pupil at Corfe Hills School in Poole, plans to continue his gliding training, and then work towards his ambition to become a commercial airline pilot.