For the third time in consecutive years, Woodbridge CCF RAF section qualified for the Nationals of the Royal Air Squadron Trophy (RAST) competition last weekend, with some outstanding achievements on the day from cadets from all round the country.
Winning the drill and air recce, the team also came 2nd in the command task with Emily (Y13) and Esme (Y11) getting 30/30 in the air recce and winning another trophy! Competing against over 200 CCF RAFs from across the UK, the qualification is no mean feat, and the students can certainly be very proud of themselves.
As part of an educational partnership between the School and the Ministry of Defence, participation in CCF enables development, discipline and organisation, amongst other skills, in students that participate – and they also have an awful lot of fun! Congratulations to all who took part, and special thanks to Helen Stollery for accompanying the students to the event.
Emily reports on the event:
Setting off at 6am for RAF Shuttleworth, the CCF RAF section were very much looking forward to competing in the Regional Air Squadron Trophy competition. Although cold, and most definitely too early, the team's determination wasn't rattled at all, as the long day ahead of us meant the chance to put our practice into action through activities such as shooting, drill and RAF knowledge.
17 other teams competed alongside and against us, hoping to earn the chance to go through and take part in the next stage of the AST competition – the Nationals. With only the top three teams going through, we were fully aware that there was very little room for error.
Throughout the day the team took part in multiple tasks, from air recognition, RAF knowledge, shooting and command task to first aid and drill. Each activity was marked and scored, with points going towards the final score.
The first success came from air recognition, where the team members were shown a variety of images of different planes and helicopters assessed on their ability to name them. With two perfect scores from Esme (Y11) and Emily (Y13), overall the team placed joint 1st for air recognition. This wasn't the only success of the day though, as both drill and command task earned top positions within the rankings. Command task, where team members are required to communicate effectively in order to work together efficiently as a team to complete the task given, was led by Alex (Y12). The clear guidance and explanation provided by the leader enabled the team to solve and complete the task swiftly and correctly, placing 2nd overall.
Perhaps the biggest success of the day for the team came in the form of drill, the task the team had practiced the longest and hardest for! The increasingly cold and dark after School practices lately, and the extensive shoe polishing sessions certainly paid off as the team managed to place 1st after being inspected, judged and marked based on their performance and appearance.
Brilliant feedback was not only received from the Test Sergeant but also three others from the RAF Regiment who are part of the current Queen's Colour Squadron.
With 11 points between 3rd and 4th, but only three between 3rd and 1st, we narrowly missed out on Woodbridge's name being etched onto the winner's trophy.
An immense effort went into practicing and performing on the day, and it certainly paid off as the team earned the chance to compete again on 6 March at the Nationals where we hope to close the gap between 3rd and 1st place.
Team participants: James (Y13), Kit (Y13) Emily (Y13), Cecily (Y13), Prin (Y13), Alex (Y12), Ollie (Y12), Esme (Y11), Lala (Y11), Abdullah (Y11), Benjamin (Y11) Hugh (Y10), Matteo (Y12), Robert (Y13), Will (Y10) and Henry (Y9).