The Air Cadet 75th Anniversary Torch Relay from John O’Groats to Land’s End, finished its journey across the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing in the cockpit of an English Electric Lightning powered by Royal Air Force Air Cadets.
The Air Cadets from 198 (Hinckley) and 121 (Nuneaton) Squadrons quite literally gave the Torch a Lightning send-off as they replacing the awesome power of the Lightning’s two Avon engines with equally impressively cadet power in an attempt to drag the Lightning and the torch across the line for a ceremony to hand over the Torch to cadets from South & East Midlands Wing who were going to take over for next leg of its mammoth journey across the country.
In a bid to help the cadets to get their backs into it and get the mighty aircraft moving they had been out collecting sponsorship for the pull. So there was absolutely no question, could they get it moving? As soon as the chocks were removed from the wheels they were off and away. True to say it wasn’t quite as impressive as one of the Bruntingthorpe based Lightning’s fast taxi displays but equally as exciting and somewhat quieter.
As the Nuneaton and Hinckley based cadets completed the Lightning pull, representatives of other Squadrons from across the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing lined up alongside the iconic cold war aircraft with their Squadron Banners to form a colourful scene, combining, both aviation history and the future of air minded youth, ready for the moment when the cadets from Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing handed the Torch over to South & East Midlands Wing.
The Air Cadet 75th Anniversary Lightning Pull was made possible thanks to the support of the Bruntingthorpe based Lightning Preservation Group.
After the event, Richard Norris of the Lightning Preservation Group said, “We really enjoyed hosting this event for the Air Cadets and we are so pleased to have been chosen in this way to be part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations and the Torch relay. Both of our pilots who were in attendance, Dennis Brooks and Jake Jarron, expressed their enjoyment in being part of the Torch Event, as their time with the Air Cadets many years ago was their first rung on the ladder of their respective careers in the Royal Air Force”.
The Lightning Preservation Group did us all proud, the Officer Commending Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing, Wing Commander Stuart Iles and Squadron Leader Neil Watson, the project officer for the Wing’s Torch relay activities were both impressed by the organisation of the Lightning Pull especially the "we can make that happen" attitude and fantastic support of the Lightning Preservation Group.
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