Sam Thomas (17) who has been making masks.

Soaring efforts from air cadets

The lockdown hasn’t completely grounded Spalding Air Cadets with creating hundreds of items of protective clothing among the activities they’ve been carrying out.

So far the 1406 (Spalding) Squadron of the RAF Air Cadets have printed and made over 300 face masks and 1,500 ear savers.

Spalding Air Cadets’ Keris Moore (15) is among those making protective equipment and is also running 80k.

Although all face-to-face activities may have been suspended, this has not stopped the cadets’ commitment to the local community and their personal development.

The squadron has adapted to meeting virtually every week since lockdown, carrying out training on their aviation syllabus as well as other activities such as quizzes, virtual treasure hunts and mindfulness sessions.

Three cadets have been hard at work printing face shields and ear savers for the NHS and hitherto have produced over 300 face shields and 1,500 ear savers.

Cadet Corporal Sam Thomas (17) is putting to use the 3D printer he got for Christmas because of his interest in practical engineering.

He said: “My mum works in a care home and when the pandemic started there was very little PPE, so I started making it for her and it took off from there”

Abi Barks (15) who has been making mask

Cadet Abi Barks (15) said: “I am proud to have been able to help over 20 different hospitals and care homes, but you don’t just need a 3D printer to help, you just need to follow government advice and make sure you protect yourselves and others.”

Cadet Keris Moore (15) added: “I wanted to help the community in some way and when I heard there was not enough PPE, I was happy to put my 3D printer to good use. I stopped counting after 100.”

Amid her mask making, Keris is also currently attempting to run 80k in 80 days as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award, which several cadets are currently working on.

The squadron’s Duke of Edinburgh Award Officer, Flt Lt Phil Prudham, said: “The cadets have had to adapt their activities due to the lockdown, but they are still making really good progress. It is also nice to see them using the volunteering section to help the NHS in a time of national emergency.

“Another requirement of the D of E Scheme is to take part in a sporting activity. Some cadets are doing cycling, others following a fitness programme in their own time.

Adjutant Acting Plt Off Jordan Bertolaso working for Morrisons

“All of the cadets are looking forward to the end of lockdown when they can do the expedition and complete their award.”

The Spalding squadron is run entirely by volunteers and several members of the team are key workers and have been busy in their day jobs. The Commanding Officer, Flt Lt Marc Fowler is a police officer, the Adjutant Acting Plt Off Jordan Bertolaso works for Morrisons.

The Supply Officer, CI Rachel Kirk, works in the care industry and CI Michelle Hampson, is a teaching assistant.

Rachel Kirk

Officer Bertaloso said: “The squadron continues to deliver as much as possible in these difficult circumstances.

“We are looking forward to the prospects of returning to our building and getting back to delivering the best opportunities for young people as possible.”

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