Great Yarmouth granddad lands high flying award

Dave Chart receiving his certificate of commendation from Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson

Dave Chart receiving his certificate of commendation from Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson. - Credit: Archant

A granddad with a passion for aviation who has helped generations of youngsters rise to the top has been awarded for his dedication to the UK's high flying cadet force.

Dave Chart has been a lifelong member of the Air Training Corps (ATC) and since joining as a teenager in 1966 has risen up the ranks to become a commanding officer and now helps youngsters achieve their own soaring goals as a training officer.

In his 40 plus years with the cadets the Great Yarmouth resident has gained numerous accolades - including his own wings - but he can now pin a top award to his lapel after receiving the Lord Lieutenant's certificate of commendation for his valuable and outstanding service to the ATC.

Mr Chart, 61, was presented with the commendation by Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson, which came as a pleasant surprise, after being nominated for the accolade by colleagues.

He said: 'It's pleasing to think someone appreciates the work you do. Forty years of looking after hundreds of kids is quite tiring.

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'It just lets you know that people do appreciate what you're do because you go on and on and no one says anything and all of a sudden it comes out of the blue.'

The dad of three began his career in the cadets as a 14-year-old at 1187 squadron in Hemel Hempstead. During his eight years as a cadet he passed all the academic exams, gaining an A-level in air navigation, and went on to get his gliding wings.

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Since then he has qualified as a gliding, canoe and abseiling instructor and gone on to lead several squadrons as commanding officer, including 1187 where his life in the cadets began.

He came to Norfolk in 1989 after getting a job as an IT engineer with Norfolk police and moved to Yarmouth were he transferred to 221 Great Yarmouth squadron.

In 1991 he was transferred to 2356 Caister squadron, which met in the village hall. As its commanding officer he increased the number of cadets and secured the group a new dedicated headquarters, where it still meets today.

He was later transferred to squadrons in Lowestoft and Stalham - where he boosted cadet numbers and improved its HQ - and was also asked to take command of 231 Norwich squadron, one of the largest in the Norfolk and Suffolk wing.

Mr Chart, who has also attended more than 60 annual ATC camps, said it was nice to see his cadets develop from youngsters into responsible adults.

'As the commanding officer of quite a few squadrons I have seen hundreds of cadets come through and many of them have gone into the Air Force, Army, Navy, fire and police services. It's a case of giving these kids a chance,' he added.

'Given the training, some discipline and help and guidance you see many young ladies and men mature at 17/18 and go out and take their place in the community.'

In 2011 Mr Chart returned to Caister squadron and now works under his commanding officer wife Pam as the squadron's training officer, while continuing to enjoy his passion for flying by taking any opportunity to get airborne.

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