CWO Shaun Kellam 2313 (The Chalfonts) Herts & Bucks Wing ATC
On Friday 26th April I attended the inauguration of the new £100 million Warner Bros. Studios Leavsdon in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry. There could not have been a better way to finish what has been a fantastic twelve months as Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for Hertfordshire.
I am coming to the of a 7 year career in the Air Training Corps. During my time I have endeavoured to get involved in as much as possible, firmly believing that the more I put in the more I will get out. I can safely say that I was correct. All of the activities in the corps help to achieve the three aims of the organisation. For example, my Flying and Gliding scholarships help to promote and interest in aviation and the RAF. The Air Cadet Leadership course which I attended at RAFC Cranwell provides skills which will be useful in both civilian life and the services and opportunities such as my Hawk flight at RAF Valley and the placement to the USA on the International Air Cadet Exchange all foster the spirit of adventure. It is because of all of the opportunities centred around those aims that the ATC has truly set me up for life. However, the best story is my year as Lord Lieutenants’ Cadet.
My duties as Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet started before I had even been presented with my certificate or badge. But with 2012 being the Diamond Jubilee year of HM The Queen it was inevitably going to be a busy one. After rapidly obtaining my brand new RAF No.1 uniform and sewing on the numerous badges it was Sunday 20th May 2012, the Lord Lieutenants Diamond Jubilee Service held in honour of Her Majesty at St Albans Cathedral. This being my first duty I arrived in plenty of time; a mere 45 minutes early. After meeting Susan Wright, Assistant Clerk to the Lieutenancy, for the first time it was straight on with the job. As Lady Verulam, Lord Lieutenant for Hertfordshire, arrived in her car I saluted and greeted her at the doors of the Cathedral. After a quick run through it was time for the procession where my role was escort Lady Verulam through the Cathedral. My first impressions of Lady Verulam were extremely good and I knew this was going to be a fantastic year.
The Hertfordshire county show was on 2nd June and the day I was presented, officially, with my certificate of appointment. It was a great day; I visited the majority of the stalls with Lady Verulam in the morning and then was invited to the president’s lunch in the member’s enclosure, which was delicious. My parents and my sister were invited to the presentation but being five I think my sister was more interested in the horses!
14th June 2012 was definitely the big day. It was the day of HM The Queens visit to Hertfordshire as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of the country. I arrived in Hitchin at 08:50 the crowds were building, along with the excitement, with over a thousand people in the small market square already. Susan briefly explained our role for the day and then left us to talk to the crowds and prepare for the Queens arrival at 10:30.
Whilst waiting I spoke to a group of Americans who had been waiting there for four hours but were nevertheless in fantastic spirits as I told them they had chosen the exact position the the Queen would be stepping out of the Bentley. As the time drew closer the Brass band and the local church choir added to the festivities with classic marching songs and contemporary film music. Jerusalem was the chosen song for the arrival of Her Majesty and by 10:00 the crowd, now thousands strong, had successfully rehearsed it. At 10:15 I had a visit from Her Majesties personal security who confirmed the arrangements and impressed me with his uncanny resemblance with a spook. He came complete with a concealed pistol and an earpiece. It was now 10:25 and people were getting worried that the red carpet had not finished being laid but they did manage to get it done, just.
The town clock chimed 10:30, a police bike arrived around the corner, the crowd erupted into cheers, the band started playing Jerusalem, I was ready… ready…nope, nothing. The Queen didn’t arrive. It was a false start and the announcer put it down to a celebration of the lifting of the hose pipe ban, but the county council were quick to say that it was not! It was 10:40 when Her Majesty actually arrived with even more cheers than the “false start”. My job was simple, salute her when she stepped out of the car and then follow her and the Lord Lieutenant around the square. I played a running game towards the end with the avalanche of flowers and gifts that were presented to the Queen. We collected them and ran them to either the “sweep car” or the Bentley. By 11:10 we were waving Her Majesty off and getting ready for leg number 2.
We arrived at Hatfield House, parked up, looked over my shoulder and saw the black Range Rover coming down the road! There was still a field and a 4000 strong crowd of school children separating me from the arrival point! Luckily my cross country experience came in useful as I sprinted across the field, fought my way through the crowd, dived under the fence and took my position with literally 5 seconds to spare before I was saluting the Queen as she stepped out the Range Rover.
The Queen was then treated to a steel band and a choir before plating a new oak tree. After the Queen left I was asked by a young girl if I would present a card that she had made to the Queen on leg 3 of my day, I, of course, obliged.
The final leg was the highlight of the day. It was a reception and luncheon with Her Majesty the Queen inside Hatfield House. As I made my way up to Hatfield House I was once again asked to present gifts to the Queen. When I got inside I had a look at the Luncheon seating plan and to my amazement I was seated on table one directly opposite the Queen! I saw the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police and Air Chief Marshal Peach on table two. Head of security a Colonel and an Air Vice Marshal on table three but on my double take I was still on table one!
After the lunch the guests and household staff went into the house gardens to wave off the Queen as she departed in the Royal helicopter.
After that fun filled day I had a bit of a rest from my duties. On 9th October 2012 and then in March 2013 I attended British Empire Medal presentations at County Hall. I got to talk to some very interesting and worthy people working and contributing to Hertfordshire which was great. In addition, in November 2012 I was invited to attend the High Sheriffs justice service where I learned how senior High Court Judges are. Even if I learnt it after I had spoken to all of them!
So, after the second British Empire Medal presentations came my final duty as Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet. It was not an arduous duty; my job was to shadow HRH Prince William with Lady Verulam for the duration of the four hour visit. It was a fantastic day. Not only did I get to visit ‘The Making of Harry Potter: Studio Tour’ for the first time but I got to meet the future of the British Monarchy. Among others, I also spoke to JK Rowling, Helena Bonham Carter and several of the Chief Executives of Warner Bros. I got to see everything from props from the Batman trilogy to how 3D films are captured.
To summarise, I was extremely lucky to be offered the role in such a fantastic year. I cannot thank Susan Wright enough for putting in all the background organisation and for getting me involved in so many great events. And of course, Lady Verulam for putting up with me by her side for all of them! I would hold the position permanently if I could but it is only fair that I let someone else have a go. This has been the most memorable year of my seven years in the Air Training Corps. I have met so many people, from so many backgrounds. It has been incredible.
Fopr more information on the Air Cadets please visit http://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/