90yrs and Still Going Strong with the RAF Air Cadets
It is often said that age is not a barrier, proving the point well is Flt Lt Mike De Torre RAFVR(T) Retd, who at the age of 90 is still going strong, supporting the next generation of RAF Air Cadets. His contribution of over 58 years of service, both in uniform and as a civilian instructor has been recognised with a Defence Council Letter of Appreciation, presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace.
The presentation was held at 303 (Worksop) Squadron, the base of Mike's service with the Air Cadets, having served since 1964 when the unit was a Detached Flight of 1403 Retford Squadron, after leaving RAF service as an aircraft technician. He commissioned in 1964 and helped to grow the unit to Squadron status, taking command in 1985. With a passion for aviation and in particular gliding, combined with his engineering skills and knowledge, he has become an inspirational instructor of aviation subjects, even designing and building a wind tunnel to support the cadets to understand the Pinciples of Flight.
In 1994 after 30 years in uniform, Mike stepped down from his RAFVR(T) role, but remained on the squadron as a Civilian Instructor, helping thousands of young people gain a head start into their lives, whether in avaition or other careers. The award was presented with current staff and cadets present and perhaps most importantly with Mikes wife Thelma and family members present, who have all been important figures in supporting Mike's journey with the Air Cadets.
In presenting the award to Mike, Sir John said 'I cannot imagine how may cadets have passed through this unit with your guidance. This Award is a Thank you, It is about you, for you and is very much important. It recognises your commitment in the Royal Air Force and your long service in supporting youth over nearly 60 years, it is a truly impressive careeer.'
Mike went on to say: ' I am very thankful and deeply honoured to recieve this award from you. Little did I imagine that after 74 yearssince joining the Royal Air Force as an apprentice did I think I would still be here supporting the RAF Air Cadets. I consider this to be the finest youth organisation in the United Kingdom'. Mike also thanked his family for their support during his Air Cadet. In celebration of his 90th birthday, his family continued to indulge his aviation passion, with a flight in a Spitfire last year, flown by former RAF Red Arrows pilot and former Air Cadet Mike Ling. Mike has no plans to retire any time soon and is already thinking about what to take to the air in next.
The Wing would like to congratulate Mike on this prestigious award and to say thank you for all the things he has done, continues to do and wish him every success in the future.