13 Mar 2007

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A small group of cadets and staff from 331 (Chesterfield) Squadron Air Cadets recently took part in the 40th Annual Endeavour Canoe Challenge over a 50 mile course on the Shropshire Canal.

The event took the form of a relay for pairs of ‘paddlers’ and started in the very early hours of Saturday morning at 7.20am.  The team were given 11 hours to complete the course, and actually managed to complete it in 10 hours, 40 minutes and 39 seconds.  The team also managed to raise £640.51 in sponsorship which goes towards the work done by Endeavour to help young people engage with education, training or employment and to reach their full potential. Cadet Robyn Rowland raised the highest individual sponsorship amounting to £161.80.

The team finished 3rd in their class with Sgt Joel Botham also being awarded the Dick Allcock Trophy for Personal Achievement for his hard work during the day.  All of the team members received a certificate and medal for taking part.  The final results showed that the team managed to finish 7th in the overall competition.

The team members were Sgt Joel Botham, Cpl Chantelle Lockwood, Cpl Elliott Lynch, Cpl Andy Turner, Cpl Jonathan Scholey, Cdt Matthew Salt and Cdt Robyn Rowland.  Flying Officer Simon Beal, and Civilian Instructors Damien Botham and Josh Botham also took part in the event.


A group of 5 intrepid young people from 331 (Chesterfield) Air Cadets have braved the cold night time elements to take part in Shadow 2006.

Shadow is the country’s biggest and best all-night orienteering competition designed for young people and is organised by Nottinghamshire County Council.  It has been in operation for 30 years with hundreds of young people taking part; many of them going back year after year.  It is mainly open to youth organisations in Nottinghamshire, however they do allow 5 out-of-county teams to take part and a team from Chesterfield Air Cadets managed to secure one of those places this year 

The team members were Sgt James Bown (team leader), Sgt Vanessa Revis, Cpl Chantelle Lockwood, Cpl Steven Shaw and Cdt Matthew Salt.  Prior to the event taking place, the cadets had to undertake training in First Aid and Navigation.

Then on a cold October evening, they headed off for Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre to register and have their kit rigorously checked to enable them to take part in the seven hour exercise.  The area used was divided into 3 sectors and each sector had points where the teams were called upon to deal with incidents requiring initiative, skill, team work and imagination. The team put in all their efforts and managed to have a good time in the process.  To the team’s delight, they discovered a hearty breakfast awaited them after completing the exercise!

A tense week later, the results arrived.  The team were overjoyed to discover that in their first year they managed to achieve 7th place out of a total of 96 teams, with the 1st place team only gaining 18 points extra!  This means that we may possibly be involved in Shadow next year as well!


Chesterfield Air Cadets were enthralled by a visit from the Edale Mountain Rescue team recently.

They were initially shown a presentation about the team’s origin and statistics on the types and numbers of casualties and incidents it has to attend.  The presentation also gave the cadets an idea of the costs involved and the type of training each member is required to undertake.

In the second part of the evening, the cadets were split in to two groups with one group being shown the equipment the team carry including their First Aid equipment.  The other group were shown the vehicle the team uses with all its additional equipment, the specialist stretcher they carry and the ‘Vac bag’ which enables them to keep a casualty completely still whilst being brought to safety.

All the members of the team are volunteers, all of whom have their own full time jobs and take part in any training in their own time.  Also there is no Government funding for this so they also have to arrange their own finance from fund raising.


Cadets from 331 (Chesterfield) Sqn were in the limelight at the annual Bakewell Show when they helped with the equestrian events in the show’s centre ring. Bakewell Show is one of Derbyshire’s premier country events and attracts around 60,000 visitors over the course of two days.

The cadets helped to set up the jumps for the Show Jumping competitions and set out the course for the Double Harness Scurry competition. During the events, they re-assembled jumps and obstacles that were knocked down by the competitors.

OC 331 Sqn, Flt Lt Simon Donaldson said “This was a very high profile event and the cadets worked really hard to help make the show a success”


 Air Cadets from 331 (Chesterfield) Squadron have won a state of the art video camera following their entry in a photographic competition. The Avesta Polarit competition is run annually amongst Air Training Corps (ATC) units covered by the RAF’s Sheffield Careers Information Office and takes a different form each year.

This year, the competing units were asked to put together a portfolio of photo’s covering aspects of life in the ATC and some of the humorous situations cadets find themselves in.

The prize was presented by the CO of the Careers Office, Flight Lieutenant Mike Myers and accepted on behalf of the squadron by the squadron’s PR Officer, Flying Officer Linda Donaldson. Amongst other things, the camera will be used to record the squadrons activities,  help cadets with their public speaking skills and to hone the squadron’s foot drill.


Air cadets in Chesterfield have embarked on a project to fund, build, fly and race their own hovercraft. In order to see what they were getting into they visited a Hovercraft Club of Great Britain meeting in Hinckley, Leicestershire. During the course of the weekend they were able to see a number of craft in action and to test their skills.


Several Chesterfield cadets have recently been awarded certificates after completing an 8 week Fencing course at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. 

Flying Officer Simon Beal, Sergeant Adam Grainger, and Cadets Joe Allen, Adam Burden, Sophie Saunders, and Andy Turner all passed Grades 1 and 2 on the Foil during the course. 

Their instructor, Mr Pete Ellinger visited the Squadron during a parade evening and presented their awards on final parade. He congratulated the cadets on their achievements and said how impressed he was with their teamwork and how quickly they had picked up the basics of the sport.


CWO Heather Smith has been named as the Wing's top female on the sports field. Heather has represented the squadron and the Wing on many occasions and has also gone on to represent Central & East Region and the ATC's national teams. Whilst netball remains her favourite sport, Heather has also done well in Athletics and Hockey




When the British Heart Foundation needed a hand with running their Jog in June event in Sheffield's Graves Park, they knew who to ask.

Although the event clashed with the Trent Wing Field Day Competition, the squadron was able to help and the cadets helped with car parking and pointing out the course to the runners. 




Cadet Robyn Rowland of 331 (Chesterfield) Squadron Air Cadets has recently gained 4 gold medals for her achievements at various Athletics meetings.

Robyn has only been a member of the Air Cadets for a few months at Chesterfield, but during that short time has certainly shown her talents on the track.  She won her first 2 gold medals whilst representing the Squadron back in April in the 800m and 400m at Quibel Park in Scunthorpe at the Trent Wing Annual Athletics Championships.  She went on to represent Trent Wing at Leicester in May competing in the 800m and winning her 3rd Gold medal of the season.  Finally, representing Central and East Region at RAF Cosford last weekend, she gained a 4th Gold medal in the 800m making her the fastest runner in her event in the whole of the Air Training Corps nationwide.


Flying Officer Simon Beal and CI Damien Botham have successfully completed a course at the Pleasley Vale Activity Centre to qualify themselves as Archery instructors. The squadron has owned some archery equipment for a number of years but has not had anyone qualified to use it. Special nets and targets have now been purchased to allow the running of an indoor archery range


Air Cadets can learn First Aid to St Johns Ambulance Young Lifesaver Plus standard. They also practice to take part in various competitions such as at the Trent Wing Field Day.

Thanks to a donation of £100 from local company Sterling Machining, 331(Chesterfield) Squadron have been able to invest in being able to provide this kind of training through purchasing their own resussi-anne doll.


Corporal James Bown is one of the latest group of lucky Air Cadets to visit RAF Akrotiri, the RAF's base in Cyprus. The overseas camp lasted for 2 weeks and included visits to the different sections working on the base

On his return, James said "The best section visit was when we visited 84 Search And Rescue Squadron. They fly the Griffin helicopter and we were fortunate enough to all get a flight. The pilot flew with the side doors open and we could almost hang out of the side, it was an amazing experience"



A small group of Air Cadets from 331 (Chesterfield) Squadron are celebrating after recently being promoted to the first ‘rung on the NCO ladder’ to the rank of Corporal.

Following an intensive NCO training and selection weekend held at the Squadron HQ at Wallis Barracks, which included an interview by the Commanding Officer and 2 other members of squadron staff, 6 cadets came away with the knowledge that they had been successful and would be promoted the following parade night.

The newly promoted Corporals are Vanessa Revis, Laura Humphreys, James Bown, Amy Wilson, Kate Wilson and Luke Seedhouse.

Congratulations to them all – but now the hard work starts


At their annual Dining-in-Night held at the Community Centre in Eckington, cadets from Chesterfield Squadron Air Cadets celebrated a year full of achievements.

The evening involved a formal sit down meal where the staff from the squadron waited on the cadets, followed by a speech made by Cadet Warrant Officer Mark Bramley. The guest of honour for the evening was Flt Lt Mike Myers from the Sheffield branch of the RAF Careers Office. The evening closed with a disco.

Flt Lt Myers presented awards to the squadron’s highest achievers for 2004 including the Vulcan Trophy for the Best Cadet to Cadet Vanessa Revis and Best NCO Trophy to Flight Sergeant Heather Smith. The award for Best New Cadet was presented to Cadet Emma Ford and Sergeant Craig Naylor was presented with the award for Best Shot. Flight Sergeant Smith won the trophy for Best Sports Cadet and Cadet Amy Wilson received the award for Best Academic Results.

The Commanding Officer’s Award is presented each year to a member of the squadron staff to recognise their outstanding hard work, determination and achievements during the year. This year, it was presented to Warrant Officer Geoff Lockwood for his work with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme on the Squadron.

Finally, the cadets would like to give their warmest thanks to Warrant Officer Lisa Furniss for organising the event, and also to Mr Furniss and his group of helpers for the excellent meal they enjoyed on the evening.

WINGS APPEAL – By Cpl E Etherington

Cadets recently spent a busy morning in Chesterfield town centre collecting for the RAF Wings Appeal.

During the morning, they raised a total of £184.50, with CPL Elspeth Etherington and CDT Amy Wilson raising £59.53.

The money raised helps retired servicemen of the Royal Air Force.


Whilst helping out at a Beating Retreat Ceremony for the Territorial Army’s 73 Engineer Regiment, Air Cadets from 331 (Chesterfield) Squadron met the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup. The squadron’s CO, Flight Lieutenant Simon Donaldson said “It was a complete surprise that he was there. When I found out, I just hoped that nobody had spilled anything” Before he left, Air Chief Marshall Stirrup took time to talk to the cadets, thanking them for their efforts and praising their turnout.



On a warm, sunny and rather breezy Sunday, a minibus full of staff and cadets visited Oxton Shooting School to take part in Clay Pigeon Shooting.

After lessons from the fully qualified instructors at the school, they were split into 2 groups and allowed to practice fire the weapons. Later a competition was held and the winner from each of the two groups fired a couple of ‘deciding’ rounds to find an overall winner. FG OFF Beal and CPL Grainger were the winners of the group competitions with CPL Grainger winning overall.


A huge congratulations to 3 very brave cadets and 1 Civilian Instructor who recently completed their Gold D of E expeditions. This is a major achievement and hasn’t occurred on the Squadron since AWO Furnis completed her award 15 years ago. CI Damien Botham, SGT Nic Graham, CPL Gareth Lockwood, and CPL Paul Bartram all came home safe and well, and all seemed to have enjoyed themselves, even though it was extremely tough at times. CPL Bartram seemed in very high spirit afterwards and is quoted as saying he ‘absolutely thrashed it!’ Yes Paul, we're sure that you did.


FG OFF Beal, Cadet’s Biggs, Chapman L, Gregory, Cresswell, Hudson, & Upton ran a stall at a Car Boot sale held on the ‘Doughnut’ island in Chesterfield.

Cadets contributed all kinds of unwanted items from home and after a hugely successful day, they managed to raise a tremendous total of £189. This money is to help fund the building of a Hovercraft for the Squadron.

If anyone has any unwanted items at home PLEASE donate them to the squadron for future Car Boot sales

Air Mobility

Cadets spent two days at Easter bag packing in the Food Hall of the Chesterfield branch of Marks & Spencer and managed to raise over £1,500.

The money raised was donated to the local branch of Shopmobility, the chosen charity of Marks & Spencer’s Chesterfield Branch. The charity provides electric scooters on loan to anyone who is having mobility problems and wants to get out and about in the town centre. It currently has around 4500 members signed up for its services and the money collected should be enough to buy two new scooters.

Flying Officer Simon Beal organised the cadet’s participation. He said “Hopefully these scooters will help a lot of local people in a very practical way. The cadets can be really proud of their efforts. We’d also like to thank the staff of Marks & Spencer for the opportunity to help and for looking after us so well”


The Mayor of Chesterfield recently attended an open day held at the Squadron’s HQ. Cadets also invited their parents, family and friends.

With the recent unpredictable weather holding off, the programme began with of a formal parade, during which presentations were made, followed by the AGM of the Squadron Civilian Committee to which all the guests were invited to attend. The remainder of the day portrayed the activities undertaken by the squadron in the form of arena displays, including Drill, Initiative exercises, First Aid and Field Craft to name but a few.

The day ended with the cadets competing in a minibus pull.

Also during the day a presentation was made to the management and staff of the Chesterfield branch of Marks & Spencer, to show the Cadets appreciation for helping raise funds for the Squadron and a local Charity – ‘Shopmobility’

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