Flight Lieutenant Audrey Smart, currently assisting cadets of 2494 Squadron (Portishead), was until recently Commanding Officer of the 1860 (East Bristol) Squadron.
The Bristol unit was struggling with cadet numbers when she was appointed. By the time she left, it was a thriving organisation with a lasting musical legacy.
That includes a squadron choir, which performed at Bath Abbey at a Wing parade and reached the final of a national music competition, and also a drum corps that is much in demand at special events.
The award, presented during ceremonies at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells, also recognised Audrey’s significant contribution as a member of the senior management team for the cadet contingent at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
It’s rumoured that at next year’s event Audrey will be making a guest appearance there with the Air Cadets’ Pipe Band – playing the bagpipes! Audrey, it can be revealed, was once the winner of England’s under-18 bagpipe competition.
On leaving East Bristol Squadron, she presented the unit with a trophy – appropriately, to be awarded to the unit’s most improved musician.
The ATC, she says, gives a wonderful grounding to its cadets. “It opens up opportunities for children and young adults that they could never dream of – a pathway to becoming good citizens.”
Audrey received her Certificate for Meritorious Service from the Lord Lieutenant, Annie Maw, during ceremonies at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells. Also honoured in this way were:
- Padre Gary Birch, chaplain to 6 Rifles (Army Reserve)
- Alan Cooper, of Cheddar, formerly Association Staff Officer, Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
- WO2 Richard Vise, of Bath, Staff Sergeant Major with 93 (North Somerset Yeomanry) Squadron, 39 Signal Regiment.