The cadets and staff from 249 (Hailsham) Squadron are celebrating after being chosen as the best Squadron, not only in Sussex but in London and South East Region as part of the Lees Trophy competition. Having been nominated to represent LASER in the national finals, the Squadron were delighted to find out that they are down to final three competitors.

Getting to this stage has required many hours of hard work and dedication not only by the cadets and staff who support them but by the Civilian Committee.

The whole Squadron prepared for an inspection and presentation evening, which meant they, their processes and administration, had to be tip top, as well as the building they occupy looking spick and span.

Preparing for inspections

The Regional Commandant, Group Captain Al Lewis, accompanied by the Assistant Regional Commandant, Squadron Leader Steve Rudd, and the Regional Warrant Officer, Chris Mundy, inspected the Squadron on parade and then listened to some fascinating presentations by the cadets who gave an insight into what the Squadron as a whole and individual cadets have achieved, as well as focusing on some of their exciting plans for the future.

Officer Commanding 249 (Hailsham) Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Craig Thomson said: “I am absolutely thrilled and incredibly proud. The success of the Squadron to get to this stage is down to great team effort. The essence of the Lees Trophy is that it is a cadet driven evening and uniquely staff stand back. Cadet Flight Sergeant Bradley Lynham led the presentations and guided the Regional and Assistant Regional Commandants on a tour of the Squadron. As Officer Commanding there was some nervousness as we, the staff, were completely reliant on the cadets to convey the story of our Squadron and for us to ‘relinquish the reins’ and stand back is unusual. It’s impossible to artificially create ambience, of which there was an abundance on that presentation evening. As one of our Wing Staff Officers has said in the past: ‘smiling cadets, smiling staff – happy Squadron.”

The Squadron is now preparing for the visit and inspection by Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty CBE, who will be making the final decision on the Lees Trophy winners.

The origin of the Lees Trophy can be traced back to Air Marshal Sir Alan Lees, KCB, CBE, DSO, AFC (23 May 1895 – 14 August 1973), a Royal Air Force officer who became Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Reserve Command. In that role he introduced a trophy for members of the Air Training Corps. The trophy is presented by Commandant Air Cadets to the best small Air Training Corps Squadron