Kettering ATC honoured as flag raised to mark 80th anniversary
The flag will remain outside the council offices for five days
A Kettering youth group has marked its 80th anniversary with an official flag-raising ceremony.
To commemorate the eight decades since the 1101 (Kettering) Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadets (ATC) first met, a socially-distanced ceremony outside Kettering Council's offices, led by mayor Cllr James Burton, paid tribute to the work of the group over the years.
The mayor also handed over a special certificate to the squadron as a thank you for all their efforts helping young people with their activity programme.
Cllr Burton said: "It is an honour and a privilege to have the ceremony. Eighty years is a long time and it's extra special because my father was a member of Kettering ATC."
After the flag-raising, the mayor presented the certificate of thanks to Kettering ATC life president Barry Oram in recognition of the squadron's services to young people in Kettering.
Mr Oram joined the town’s 1101 Squadron as a cadet in 1959, serving in several ranks, and has gone on to serve as commanding officer from 1987 to 2002 before becoming life president.
He said: "It's a very emotional to see the flag. From the beginning Kettering Council were involved in helping to set up the squadron in 1941.
"Mr Swingler was the first acting commanding officer and then Tommy Ward took over as fulltime CO - I joined in 1959 as a cadet and never left.
"It is important to get the young people involved. It gives them a sense of community. I get emails from ex-cadets every day and they still share a passion to get involved."
Originally meeting at the Stamford Road School, 200 male cadets joined up in 1941, to prepare them for potential active service.
In 1955, the squadron moved to their own premises in Northampton Road where they are currently located. Girls were allowed to join in the late 1980s.
The group has seen successes in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and allowed many cadets to go on to achieve in the forces with several achieving their goals to become pilots.
Over 30 cadets have been regularly attending twice-weekly virtual parade nights but the group are looking forward to being back in their Northampton Road HQ, taking part in activities ranging from aviation training, flying, gliding, shooting, sports and radio communications training.