2009 has been a very mixed year for Wales & West, a year in which we have experienced both sadness and success. We will never forget that we lost three of our young people in tragic accidents; but it is in the nature of the extended family that is the Air Cadet Organisation that in the aftermath of these tragedies our young people and our adult staff showed outstanding strength of character.
Turning to our successes, another young officer from the Region won the Ganderton Sword – that’s now the third year running, so our Commissioning Boards must be getting something right! Merseyside Wing retained the Gillan Trophy for sport for the seventh year running, and we were successful in winning both the Lees Trophy and the Dacre Sword. I am also delighted to have heard recently that CWO Gethin Davies, our Dacre Sword winner, has been accepted for pilot training in the RAF.
I hope we can build on our successes in 2010. Both our Regional Activity Centres – Cosford and St Athan – should be functioning early next year, and we have a number of cadets currently on the Aerospace Instructors’ Course – what has been described as the thinking cadet’s JLC! We have made great strides forward with the introduction of Project BADER; currently over 88% of our sqns are compliant. We held a very successful “all Wings” camp at Aldergrove in the Autumn, which we plan to repeat in 2010.
Finally, on a personal note, just before Christmas I shall have been in this post longer than any post I have ever held previously – and I have no plans to move on just yet! My thanks to you all for what you have achieved this year, and my best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year, a time to spend with loved ones and to think – particularly this year – of absent friends. To you all – A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!