The Best of the Best
Some of our favourite photos from across the years on 224.
Welcome to 224 (Hexham) Squadron Air Training Corps - also known as ‘The Air Cadets’.
We are a busy unit, situated near the centre of Hexham, with an energetic and enthusiastic group of cadets and staff who are willing to get involved in everything! This website will hopefully give you a taste of what we do as Air Cadets; from flying and gliding, to hiking and camping, to exercises with the armed forces. Please read on to find out more about what we have been up to, in the words of the cadets themselves.
If you have any questions about our activities, how to join, or how you can get involved as an adult volunteer, please do not hesitate to drop us an email or call in to see us on one of our twice-weekly parade nights.
We look forward to hearing from you!
224 Sqn ATC
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We were kindly invited to visit the Aviation Academy at Newcastle Airport during March 2019 so we headed over to the airport to see what it was all about.
This year, Cpl Eleanor Mace and I were given a place on the annual summer adventure training camp in NACATC Windermere. Unfortunately, due to refurbishment works, the camp was moved to the newer and far more spacious NACATC Fairbourne in Wales. The week consisted of an 8 hour coach journey each way, several navigation walks, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, raft building, low ropes, leadership exercises, sports nights, the converted ‘Fairbourne’s Got Talent’ and the week wouldn’t be complete without Fairbourne’s finest fish and chips. AT camps are a fantastic way for cadets to get off the squadron and meet other like-minded young people from across the Wing, Region and even Corps as well as allowing cadets to get out and discover their sense of adventure. - FSgt Smurthwaite
24/07/2018 - Two Hexham cadets have just returned from a long day of travelling to and from Leuchar's Station Army Base in Scotland alongside a coach of other cadets from Durhuam and Northumberland Wing to experience a flight in a Chinook helicopter! The journey was long - 4 hours to and from the base - but was certainly worth it....
The flight lasted 5-10 minutes, and was part of a mission to make 1500 cadets airbourne in the space of only two days. Not only meeting cadets from our own wing (DNW), but from the whole of the North Region was wonderful, fueling the buzz in the air caused by the excitment of such a rare opportunity. The flight itself was incredible, and something that I could never have imagined that would ever be available for me to do in my entire life - just one of the insane experiences the ATC has to offer to an ordinary teenager that chose to join the Air Cadets. - Cpl Mace R
The 17th, 18th and 19th of July 2018 saw Cpl Mace R, Cpl Mace E, Cpl Homer, FS Smurthwaite and Cdt Wells join FS Lloyd from 346 Tynemouth Squadron on their practice Silver Expedition for their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards. This is a first for 224 Hexham so the enthusiasm for the walk was more than enough to wake them up at 6:30 in the morning in order to begin the walk as soon as possible!
That, however, did not happen. After packing up and ready to go, kit checks sorted and the general nerves poking at us to get up and go...the mini bus wouldn't start! Thankfully transport was arranged, but the delay was an unfortunate start for the explorers. However, with Hexham's famous cheery vibes and Tynemouth's productivity, the walk was soon underway and the grins and smiles plentiful!
Walking itself was not a problem for our youthful generation, although navigation proved to be a little bit of an issue when working with, (put bluntly), terrible maps. But did we let this stop us? No we did not! Even after ten minutes of torrential rain, the spirits in the group remainded high in the sky, where they stayed for all three days and two...okay....one night (we had a little bit of a low the second night but that was quickly fixed by a campfire and marshmellows)!
The second day was definitely the most challenging; a navigation error led the group traipsing over a moor for much longer than was necessary, but this was swiftly fixed and used as a learning curve for when the group complete the real deal in August.
As a team, I personally loved every minute of this expedition - it was certainly more challenging than Bronze, but the general atmosphere created in the group was always happy and bouncy, as we helped each other through the hike and made so many memories that I will always look back on in (no not anger), but in joy. - Cpl Mace R
On Friday the 15th of June, a group of our Squadron cadets as well as staff were taken to Newcastle Upon Tyne. It is an event when we are transported to different locations to complete a range of activities such as climbing, shooting simulation, Navy drill, a gas mask and medicine lesson, building exercises, mines and traps exercises, first aid and many others, including a stretcher run at the end of the day. - Cdt Burt
Our cadets competed against other teams of trained NHS staff during the day and were awarded first prize - a huge achievement and an improvement from previous fifth and second places! Well done those who represented 224, you did us proud!
This year, we sent 9 cadets to help mountain rescue marshal the Allendale Challenge. We set up our 12x12 tents at 2 checkpoints, Black Hill and Smelt Mill, to shelter the all important soup.
We met at squadron for a 07:30 departure and headed for the village hall. Once we were there, we informed mountain rescue that we were here before continuing to the checkpoints. First we went up
the black hill where we erected one of our tents as shelter for the team that would be posted there. After that we came back down to Smelt mill to erect the second.
We then waited until the rest of the checkpoints were manned to see if we needed to send any cadets up to Black Hill; thankfully we didn’t. This allowed us to have more rotations and breaks, helping keep the cadets warm and their moral high throughout the days consistent rain.
Although we came back to the village hungry and as wet as a puddle we were warmed by the pie and peas on offer before bussing up and heading back home. -FS Smurthwaite
The Allendale Challenge is an annual walk/ run organised by the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team to raise funds for their team. It’s an event our squadron has taken part in for some years now and something I look forward to each year. Our role is to help out at the checkpoints along the twenty six mile long route, checking of the walkers and runners and serving them drinks, soup and encouragement as they pass and generally just helping make sure the day runs smoothly. The event is a great opportunity for us to get out into the public eye, and tell people what the air cadets is all about. This year was my third time helping out at the event and although the weather was miserable, it was still a really enjoyable and rewarding day. It was especially so fulfilling to see the spirits of everyone so high despite being completely drenched.
- Cpl Homer K
On Saturday 7th April I, with a grup of cadets, went to the Allendale Challenge to help out at the checkpoint.
The Allendale Challenge is a walk/run which happens annually. It is organised by the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teamto raise funds for their team. It is an event our squadron has taken part in for some years now.
This year was my first year helping out, and despite it being a very cold daywith miserable weather, it was still a really enjoyable and fulfilling day. It was so inspiring to see everyone's high spirits despite being completely soaked to the skin.
Our role was to help out at the checkpoints along the TWENTY SIX mile long route, checking on the runners and walkers, and serving drinks, soups and sweets, as well as encouragement to them as they passed.
This event is a fantsatic opportunity for us to get ourselves out in public eye, and tell people what air cadets is all about. - Cdt Edwards
7th April saw the return of Cpl Mace R and Cpl Gaukrodger from a week long camp in Redford Barracks, Edinburgh. From previous experiences, both were excited to be taking part in the music camp again and had high hopes; from the pictures taken and the memories made - they were certainly not let down!
The week was held in Scotland, but saw the attendance of cadets from Northern Ireland, Scotland and England from the ATC, ACF (Army Cadet Force) and CCF (Corps Contingency Force). The multi-force aspects of the camp introduced opportunities to make new friends and work together not only making music, but facing challenges like inspections and parades, with cadets from other countries.
The days consisted of music in multiple bands of different abilities - with Junior, Intermediate and Senior Band making up the bulk of the musicians, and the Drum Core suited to those with a rhythmic talent for drumming. These bands also determined our dormotries, resulting in a running, healthy competition between the bands throughout the week.
Parades and breaks were held at a set time every day, with dining in the Mess with the regulars at meal times becoming an event to look forward to, sitting with friends and enjoying a meal in groups of good people. After room inspections, the cadets were free to change from uniform and enjoy social time to catch up with friends and revise if need be. Evening activities commenced at seven o' clock and were some of the higlights of the camp - the ceilidh and karaoke being Cpl Mace's personnal favourites!
The camp ended with a small Beating the Retreat held in Perth - about an hours drive from the Barracks. Each band oerformed their own marching routines, and it really was a spectacular display of the hard work and achievements of every single cadet in the camp.
'As just an overview of the week, this really does not do Redford Camp the justice it deserves. I think what makes it such a brilliant week is definitely the people - the cadets and the staff are truly some of the best people I've met, and I really hope to keep in touch with them. The Wing Band is probably my favourite thing that cadets has to offer...I met my boyfriend through it, some really great friends, brilliant staff, and just amazing people from Ireland and Scotland too. Beating the Retreat with the Pipes and Drums in Edinburgh Castle is at the end of the month, and I can honestly say I'm so so so excited!!' - Cpl Mace R
Wednesday the 27th December was the date of our traditional Christmas Walk 2017. This year showed 6 cadets willing to rise early for the yearly trek to burn off those Christmas Calories, walking from 9 o’clock to 2 o’clock in a mere 4 degrees all day!
CI Kitkatt provided entertainment for the duration of the journey with a checklist of trees, animal prints and other nature-related treasures to keep the cadets merry and busy through the journey. Spirits were high and laughs were loud, resulting in the day being as successful and achieving as previous years. We had no injuries (thank goodness)! and are also proud to say that our most highly-awarded Faffer did indeed not faff for the whole walk! (Well...maybe a little bit, but we’ll let that slide Cpl Mace)!
In June this year, cadets took part in Exercise Medical Challenge 2017 at Teesside. The Exercise is organized and ran by members of 201 (Northern) Field Hospital, Army Reserve. It is a series of challenges, comprising medical, leadership, physical and intellectual events which took place on sites around Teesside. Participants include NHS staff, Medical Students and other groups from around the region, forming teams and working through the day on each stage of the challenge. The emphasis for the event is on teamwork, resilience, problem solving, learning about the Army reserve, the Field Hospital , their staff and training, overseas activities, and fun! Challenges this year included; extrication of casualties from crashed vehicles, command tasks where the retrieval of items from a distance was required, investigating a murder with the Military Police and arresting the suspect, together with physical challenges on the river and an obstacle course. This list is not complete and other challenges were present, including a very early start for all involved! This year the Air Cadets were able to come away after all the sections with an amazing 2nd place overall, only just losing out to a team of medical students. For their achievement they received a cup which was awarded on a Cadet parade night at Hexham by Major Simon Kendal from the Field Hospital, and their mentor for the day, Staff Sgt Dave Chapple.