Marking the 75th anniversary since the formation of the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) over 75 cadets from across Central and North Sectors in Thames Valley Wing ATC gathered in the Oxford as part of parade and service of remembrance.
Marching through the grounds of Christchurch College and onto the streets of Oxford with a magnificent Air Cadet band the cadets attended a service of remembrance at Christchurch Cathedral before returning back to the grounds of Christchurch. Crowds gather to watch the match past and to see Officer Commanding Thames Valley Wing, Wing Commander C Fisher RAFVR(T) take the salute from the parade.
The parade was formed by cadets and staff from 966 (Wallingford), 1861 (Wantage), 2120 (Witney), 2121 (Abingdon), 2267 (Brize Norton) and 2410 (Didcot) Squadrons with the band attending from 2507 (Bicester) Squadron.
Cadet Sergeant C McAleese from 2267 (Brize Norton) provides an insight to the parade and what it meant to be a part of the celebrations:
“On Sunday 7th May 2016, I can honestly say I have never been prouder to be an air cadet. It was the day of the Central and North sector 75th Anniversary march, through the beautiful city of Oxford. The Christchurch Meadows was gleaming with sunlight, and was starting to become an attraction for tourists for the day, so while we were forming up, and practicing, we started to gain an audience!
The time had come for the parade, and we formed up, nervous to march through the streets of Oxford with the Bicester Squadron band. The crowds continued to gather, and within minutes of marching past the meadows, we were proudly parading the streets of Oxford to Christchurch College, where the salute would be taken by OC TVW, Wing Commander Fisher.
As we entered the busy street, the traffic had stopped and so had the passers-by, all proudly looking on at an organisation of whom were clearly happy and proud to be doing what they were! Many photos were taken, and videos made viral in countries I cannot even pronounce!
Next, we were to take part in a veteran church service, we all stood, listening to the names of those lost in the wars, and as each name was read, every cadet had the understanding and heart felt warmth that they gave their lives for us. Every cadet felt honoured to represent them and felt spirited to be amongst those who knew, and served later in the same regiments.
The church service not only represented the veterans, but also incorporated the news of our anniversary, with the padre from 2410 (Didcot) Squadron taking the cadet 75th prayer. The silence was memorable, and the marching behind the Thames Valley banner was honourable.
After many photos to capture such a wonderful day, we marched for the final time, back out to the streets of Oxford, where once again, our breaths were caught and our heart strings pulled as the passers-by stopped to watch. I can honestly say, that the march was emotional, rewarding, and made me realise how lucky I am to have had all the opportunities I have been given within the Air Training Corps, and how proud I feel to be part of such an outstanding organisation.”