The South and West Yorkshire Wing Air Cadets were welcomed for the first time to St Hilda’s Church in Leeds to a service of thanksgiving, for the work of the Air Training Corps and the many volunteers that generously give up their time.
The special service on Sunday, February 3 also marked the founding day of the Air Training Corps, which takes place on Tuesday 5th February. It was attended by up to fifty cadets from across the South and West Yorkshire Wing, along with Father Darren Percival, priest in Charge of Saint Hilda's Cross Green, who presided and the Area Bishop of Kirkstall, Paul Slater (pictured below) who preached.
RAF Air Cadets is one of the biggest youth organisations in the UK and one which is routed in the Christian Faith. The Diocese of Leeds has close ties with the organisation because of the small number of chaplains who work with the Northern Region, including Father Darren who has recently been made Assistant Chaplain to the south and west wing.
The service included the enrolment of eight new cadets (pictured below), with new members reciting special prayers and a promise made before their designated chaplain Father Darren Percival. Six previous members of the West Yorkshire Wing, who passed away whilst fighting during the Second World War, were also commemorated by the lowering of flags (pictured below).
“It was back in November last year, that the Officer in Command at 168 ‘The City of Leeds Squadron’ asked about the possibility of a Parade in Church and we both thought Air Training Corps Sunday, 3rd February, was the ideal opportunity,” said Father Darren.
“The Aims of the Corps are to promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people. Provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life. Encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship. This was lived out on Sunday. For some Cadets this will be their only connection with the Church and they venture into the unknown just like the flying, gliding and range of activities that they participate in.”