A youth organisation named the finest in the country has been granted the Freedom of South Derbyshire.
The 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) received the highest honour the District Council can bestow on Thursday.
It means the cadets have freedom of entry into the District on ‘all ceremonial occasions with colours flying and bands playing’.
The title of Honorary Freeman is recognition of the work done to help future generations to prosper, as well as the tireless work carried out in local communities.
It comes hot on the heels of the squadron, which trains at Eureka Park, winning the coveted Morris Cup and being named the best squadron in the country by the Royal Air Force.
Cllr Michael Stanton, Chairman of South Derbyshire District Council, presented a ceremonial scroll to the ATC during an Extraordinary Council meeting.
He said: “The Air Training Corps have given outstanding service to the District of South Derbyshire for more than 76 years. They have brought prestige to the area by winning numerous honours, the latest of which being the Morris Cup, a prestigious national award, and by instilling leadership, teamwork and respect in so many young people. The squadron has worked closely with the Council and has forged many strong
community links. They deserve an unparalleled reputation in South Derbyshire and beyond.”
As well as the Freedom of South Derbyshire, the squadron was awarded the Council’s first Order of Merit in 2013 for its positive influence across the District.
Flight Lieutenant Ruth Morgan, Squadron Commander, said:
“It is a very proud moment to be granted the freedom of South Derbyshire. It is fitting recognition of the work we do in the heart of the local community and developing young people, something we pride ourselves on. We will continue to keep supporting Swadlincote and South Derbyshire and fully intend to make the most of the opportunity to parade with colours flying and bands playing.”
The Freedom of South Derbyshire has only been awarded twice before, to former District Councillor Bill Dunn and the Mercian Regiment.