Air cadets and staff enjoy trip of a lifetime to Ascension Island

Alex MacRae and Kirsty Burnham holding the baton. Alex MacRae and Kirsty Burnham holding the baton.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
2:48 PM

A team of air cadets and staff have returned from the trip of a lifetime to an island in the South Atlantic.

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Members of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing boarded an aircraft from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and travelled 4,500 miles to Ascension Island, part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, which is used by the Royal Air Force and United States Air Force.

The action-packed week included military visits, adventure training and conservation work.

Cadets and staff marvelled at the dormant volcanoes, lava flows and cinder cones that make up the island.

They visited Comfortless Cove, the home of the Bonetta Cemetery, which contains the remains of members of the crew of HMS Bonetta who were dumped ashore with yellow fever in 1838 and died.

They watched green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs, trekked through a dense bamboo plantation and relaxed at the beach at English Bay.

The last full day on Ascension Island involved conservation work on Elliot’s Pass near the peak of Green Mountain.

Cadets and staff cleared a path to allow access to the pass for people wanting to complete a walk.

With the flight home not until the evening, a visit to the Queens Baton Relay for the 2014 Commonwealth Games had been arranged at Georgetown, the capital of the island.

After learning about the baton itself cadets and staff had photos holding the baton.

There was still time for them to visit a fort and the island museum before heading home.

Cadet Sergeant Alex MacRae, 17, from 1220 (March) Squadron said: “I really enjoyed the trip as it allowed me to experience something unique. I would not have had this opportunity if it were not for the Air Cadet Organisation.”

Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Burnham added: “This expedition was a fantastic experience for all that attended.

Cadets and staff alike became part of a brilliant team that worked hard to get the most out of the trip. It was a privilege to attend.”

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