Last Thursday (20 April) Hertsmere’s Member of Parliament Mr Oliver Dowden CBE (Con) paid an informal visit to the headquarters of 57 (Potters Bar) Squadron, Air Training Corps (ATC).
Report by Squadron Leader Philip Jones RAFVR(T)
Mr Dowden was met by the Sqn’s Commanding Officer Flight Lieutenant Tony Cunningham RAFVR(T) who gave the MP a brief insight on Air Cadet activities before inviting him to inspect the cadets on parade. Taking the opportunity Mr Dowden spoke to every cadet on parade finding that many travel quite some distance to attend and being impressed by the variety of activities on offer to cadets.
With the parade over the cadets and MP had a question and answer session inside the HQ building where cadets were able to ask their representative a range of questions regarding the life and roles of a working Member of Parliament including details as recent as the day before the visit. After that, Mr Dowden presented some cadets with certificates in connection with recent training successes and said “It was wonderful to see the Potters Bar Air Cadets in action and I was impressed by their training and how interested, welcoming and engaged they all were. ‘Being a cadet is a great thing to be able to do and during my visit I discovered how they’re learning to do everything from flying to target shooting and making friends along the way. ‘I wish them the best of success and encourage others who are interested to get involved as well.”
After the visit 19 year old Cadet Corporal Demi Baker said” Tonight was one of the best experiences I have had in cadets. MPs are a role model for me as I did have an interest in politics with a wish to represent the RAF inside the political system. Mr Dowden was able to directly help my studies towards my Level 3 Diploma in Public Service.” Flt Lt Cunningham added that an MP’s visit was a great way of helping cadets with their citizenship training as well as allowing them the unusual occurrence of an open forum with an MP. I was impressed by the sensible questions asked by the cadets.
All photos © Sqn Ldr Philip Jones RAFVR(T)