Gairloch ATC Centre formally opens

Gairloch ATC Centre formally opens

- 12/05/2017

On Thursday 27 April Mrs Bowen, Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh, attended Gairloch to open the new Air Training Corps building. Having inspected the parade she spoke briefly before unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion. She said:

‘The history of the Gairloch Squadron over the last 14 years is really pretty remarkable when you think how remote we are from the rest of activities in Highland, let alone other parts of UK. Started in 1993, when a detached flight was formed in Poolewe, the unit has always adapted and performed well above what might be expected. In 2002 the then Flight sought and obtained permission to lease the old derelict Bunk House in Gairloch which they quickly converted into the ATC HQ. In 2007 the number of cadets rose to 22 and the Flight was judged the best in Highland out 16 units and third best in Scotland and Northern Ireland out of 125 units. In 2008 the unit was awarded one of Highly Exceptional Performance by Commandant Air Cadets and in 2009 832 Squadron was established by Special Directive, so, getting to this new building has been a long wait.

In the meantime cadets have participated in competitions and camps galore, supported the annual Great Wilderness Challenge and the Gairloch Highland Gatherings, and much else, which brings me to a more general comment about the Squadron’s contribution to community, which has been really significant here in Gairloch. When community is strong it binds with a glue that literally hold everything together, but what makes community strong is when people get stuck in and pull together for the benefit of each other. 832 Squadron in its work with the young people of the area is an exemplar of this, imbuing the cadets with a willingness to contribute, and finding out in the process that it can be good fun too.

At a more personal level I have experienced on a number of official occasions the excellent training and ability of the cadets. These include: the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent in 2011 in connection with the Arctic Convoys and then two years later in 2013 for ceremony at which Arctic Star medals were awarded to veterans. In addition to these headline events I have been conscious of the annual attendance at remembrance services both at Cove and in Aultbea, Poolewe and Gairloch. At all times I have found the cadets to be always immaculately turned out and polite, which speaks volumes for the hard and dedicated work of all the volunteer leaders headed by Sergeant Ellakirk.

So, the Squadron has a serious track record and I’m delighted that at last you have a building that is up to date and fit for purpose. As such it gives me the greatest pleasure to declare this great new building well and truly open!’

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