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‘No longer feasible’ to keep Stalham ATC squadron running

1132 (Stalham) Air Cadets closes its doors after nearly 80 years. Picture shows the squadron flag at half mast. Picture: Terry Owen

1132 (Stalham) Air Cadets closes its doors after nearly 80 years. Picture shows the squadron flag at half mast. Picture: Terry Owen

Archant

Generations of teenagers have passed through an ATC squadron in North Norfolk, which has closed its doors for the last time after 76 years.

Cadets first joined 1132 (Stalham) Squadron during the Second World War when their training was a key element for many going on to join the RAF.

The squadron has also seen many adults volunteer their time.

Over the last 18 months, the squadron suffered a drop in recruitment of both staff and cadets and after the death of the Commanding Officer, Fg Off Phil Barber, the decision was taken to close the squadron.

Wing Commander David Miller, Officer Commanding (OC) Norfolk and Suffolk Wing, said: “it was with great sadness and regret that we had to make the decision to close 1132 Stalham Squadron, but it was no longer feasible to keep the squadron running.

“I would very much like to thank all the adult volunteers who have helped run 1132 over the years.

“With two squadrons both less than 10 miles away, we are still very able to offer the young people of Stalham the Royal Air Force Air Cadet experience.“

The squadron was formed during the Second World War in 1941 at Stalham High School, before moving to The Stables in Stalham, with the squadron finding a permanent home in St Michael’s Church School in Sutton.

Over the years the squadron has taken part in many local community events which included supporting the Worstead Festival, parking around 3000 cars over a three-day period.

But the cadets and staff always remember one particular event which took place on January 23, 2003 when 14 cadets spoke to Commander Leroy Chiao of the International Space Station on a VHF radio link-up, organised by NASA. The squadron remains the only one in the UK to have done this.

If any young people between 12 and 18, or adults, wish to join the RAF Air Cadets who live in the Stalham area they can join 222 (Broadland) Squadron based in Wroxham or 2110 (North Walsham) Squadron.

Details of how to join can be found on the Norfolk and Suffolk Wing website www.nswingatc.co.uk/Join-Us

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