On Saturday 10 December the Squadron held its annual Dining In Night at the Masonic Hall in Wallingford.
VIP guests of the Squadron were its Honorary President, Polly Vacher MBE and her husband Peter, the Mayor and Mayoress of Wallingford, Colin Dalton and Sandie Clemas and 966 Sector Commander, Sqn Ldr Chris Breward and his wife. The Commanding Officer, Flt Lt Tom Churnside and his wife, Caroline, also welcomed members of the Squadron staff and over 30 cadets and their guests.
Following an excellent meal the traditional passing of the port took place in readiness for the toasts, the first of which was the loyal toast proposed in time honoured fashion by ‘Mr Vice’. On this occasion, Cdt Ruben Godwin-Suttie, being the youngest member of the Squadron filled the role of Mr Vice.
Flt Lt Churnside proposed a toast to the Squadron followed by a run down on what the Squadron had achieved during the year, largely as a result of the work put in by various members of staff to whom he expressed his appreciation.
Sqn Ldr Breward then gave a broader picture of changes within the Corps finishing on a much lighter note with a rendering of cracker jokes!
It was then time for the awards of the year to be presented by the Honorary President, Polly Vacher, who was supported by Flt Lt Churnside.
The awards and recipients (left to right) on the night were:
Cdt Chloe West – Endeavour Cup – for the best effort in Adventure Training and Fieldcraft exercises.
Cdt Alison Farrand – The Wings Trophy (Polly Vacher Award) – for the best first year cadet who it was thought had truly embraced the ethos of the Corps.
Cpl Sally Evans – the Efficiency Trophy – for being the Squadron’s most effective cadet NCO.
Finally, Sgt James Hupe accepted the Flight Shield on behalf of the cadets of B Flight who were the overall winner of the interflight competitions for 2011. Flt Lt Churnside noted the closeness of this competition with B Flight wining by only a fraction of a percent.
Following the presentations, Mr Vice, as tradition dictates, dismissed the ‘top table’ to the lounge.
There then followed a further rendering of cracker jokes by the newly formed double act of Warrant Officer Jon Barker and Mr Vice, after which the rest of the cadets and guests retired to the lounge to allow the tables to be cleared and removed from the floor.
For the second part of the evening, the cadets assembled in their respective flights for a medley of alcohol free mess games, supervised as always by Warrant Officer Barker who was ably supported by Cpl Rik Walsh, Sgt Andy Morely and CI Jon Holroyd.
As a warm up, the first game involved the cadets racing successively down the hall to rotate three times around a free standing pole before returning to their flights. The floor being polished allowed bare feet to win over socks and tights, the wearers of whom found stopping quickly by the pole was somewhat difficult!
The second challenge involved transporting a coin the length of the room without using the hands and depositing it in a glass. Various parts of the body were used to ‘clench’ the coin including some very novel methods best left to the imagination!
There then followed the ‘empty glass on the head’ game. The object being that cadets assemble in their flight rows with a glass of coke each. The first cadet drinks the coke as fast as possible before inverting the (hopefully!) empty glass on their own head. The person behind then follows suit until the end of the row. This was won easily by A flight who finished well in front of B Flight who claimed their delay was due to a mysterious complaint called ‘bubbles up the nose’.
The Warrant Officer then demonstrated the art of a tug of war whilst sitting on the floor. This involved two teams, each joined by arms around the waist, pulling on a central wooden staff whilst attempting to shuffle backwards on the floor. Following the cadets, various guests plus Flt Lt Churnside and Sqn Ldr Breward joined into what was an entertaining event with the winners lost in the ensuing hilarity.
The final game was the traditional ‘aeroplane event’ where various (usually the lightest) cadets from each flight are ‘propelled’ horizontally around the room by their team members whilst making occasional stops for ‘refuelling in flight’ via a tube and funnel whilst still horizontal. On this occasion, the beer normally used for refuelling, was replaced by water!
The evening concluded by a short address from the Mayor of Wallingford who thanked the Squadron for inviting himself and the Mayoress. He also made special mention about the standard of 966 Squadron cadets who he said were a credit to the town.
A selection of photos from the event can be found here or on the ‘Photos’ page of this website.