South & East Midlands Wing adult volunteer, Squadron Leader Alyn Thompson RAFAC, has received an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
Squadron Leader Thompson commissioned into the RAF Volunteer Reserve (Training) Branch 40 years ago, four years later becoming the 7th Officer Commanding of 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron. Following Squadron Leader Thompson having been at the helm for 35 years, Swadlincote is a jewel amongst the Corps’ 950 units, having attracted multiple awards for excellence. Swadlincote won the Morris Trophy for best large unit in the Corps in 2009 and then replicated this feat in 2017, an unprecedented achievement.
During his time in charge of 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron he has been heavily involved in supporting a variety of local, national and international projects. This notably includes setting up a partnership with an African orphanage in Burundi and supporting Aqua Boxes, water purification systems for Third World Countries. As part of this support Squadron Leader Thompson has raised £27,000 for these various causes over the past 10 years.
Alongside his squadron commitments he has played a vital role on the Wing Spring Camp, as Flight Liaison for more than 20 years. In this role he ensures the welfare and morale of the 300 cadets on the camp, enabling the camp to run smoothly and to ensure all cadet have a great experience. Squadron Leader Thompson has also been heavily involved in the International Air Cadet Exchange Programme. Joining the programme in 2003, initially as an Escorting Officer, he now acts as the Lead Officer for the UK element of the programme, a role he very much enjoys.
Already acting as a mentor to generations of cadets and adult volunteers, due to his vast experience and professionalism, Squadron Leader Thompson accepted the Wing post of Sector Commander. A role which enables him to lead and motivate six squadrons with 400 cadets and 70 adult volunteers across Derbyshire and north Leicestershire, allowing him to continue to pass down his experience to the next generation of Commanding Officers.
There are many more achievements and highlights that could be listed in this article from the many achievements and activities Squadron Leader Thompson has completed but his greatest achievement is the long lasting impression he has left on the cadets and staff who have worked with him, so evident when his MBE was listed. On accepting the award Squadron Leader Thompson said “The work that the volunteers do within the Air Cadet Organisation is exceptional and I feel most honoured to be the individual to have been granted this honour. I have been a member of the organisation since joining as a Cadet 50 years ago and find it gratifying to be granted this for something which I thoroughly enjoy.”