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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Wharfedale Staff Honoured for Exceptional Service

Two long serving staff members of the Squadron have been honoured by Dr Ingrid Roscoe, the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, at a private ceremony held at Ceres Division Royal Naval Reserve in Carlton Barracks,

Squadron Leader J Hitchen RAFVR(T) and Warrant Officer (ATC) D Wood were awarded the Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate – an achievement recognised as one of the highest honours in the forces, ranking alongside the MBE - in recognition of their service with the Squadron and the Corps.

Squadron Leader Hitchen joined 1224 (Wharfedale) Squadron in 1987 and was made Officer Commanding in 1991, retaining that position until he stepped down as OC to take the post of Sector Commander for Sector 5 of Central & East Yorkshire Wing.

Reflecting on the ceremony, John, commented: " I feel very honoured to receive this award, which is wonderful recognition of nearly 25 years of service. The Air Cadets have taken up a big part in my life, which I have enjoyed immensely, and I'm glad that I've been able to make use of my experience in aviation to the benefit of so many young people over the years."

The other recipient of the award, Warrant Officer Wood joined 1224 in 1991 as a Civilian Instructor while his children were attending the Squadron before moving into uniform as an Adult Warrant Officer and later taking up the position as Squadron Adjutant, a role he has held to this day. 
He was instrumental in forming the Squadrons band in 1997 which is still going strong today and has been the driving force behind the Squadrons huge success in collecting for the Royal Air Force Association.

Of his award David said: "Having joined initially in support of my children, I never imagined I'd still be here over 22 years later. But I found it so rewarding, and such a great privilege, to see all these young people achieving so much as they grow into responsible young adults. That hasn't changed to this day, and I feel extremely honoured to have received such a prestigious award."

Also honoured at the ceremony were Flt Lt Keith Christmas RAFVR(T), currently the OC of 2527 (Lawnswood) Squadron who had previously served with 1224 (Wharfedale) Squadron on two occasions and Flt Lt Tony Young of 2168 (Yeadon) Squadron.

Sqn Ldr Hitchen (fourth from the left), WO Wood (third from the right), and Flt Lt Christmas (Far Right) at the ceremony.