Magnus Church of England Academy is celebrating the news that their CCF (Combined Cadet Force) School Staff Instructor, Squadron Leader Gillian Wills, has been recognised with an Air Officer Commanding No. 22 Group Commendation (RAF Air Cadet Personnel), in the New Year Honours list.
Sqn Ldr Wills has recently commenced working with the Magnus CCF (RAF), where cadets are given various opportunities, such as attending training camps and air experience flights with RAF pilots, as well as developing leadership skills, self-discipline and resourcefulness applicable in both civilian and military careers.
Speaking of the commendation Sqn Leader Wills said, “I was really surprised at the news. I originally joined my local squadron near Brigg as a young 13-year-old cadet and eventually became Commanding Officer of that Squadron.
“Looking back, I think my younger self would be amazed to have known my journey so far,” said Gill. “I received the good news by telephone from my Wing Commander. The application was submitted in June, and they had kept it a secret all that time!”
Gill says she has high aspirations for the cadets at Magnus CCF (RAF) “I am hoping to broaden the cadets’ experiences at Magnus. With the integration of the full air cadets, CCF and RAF, they will gain a far broader experience. My dream is really to give the Cadets the best experience and skills they can employ in both military or civilian life.”
Working with Gill at Magnus is Flt Lt Michelle Bradshaw who said she was delighted to hear the news. “I feel blessed that we managed to secure Sqn Ldr Wills as our new SSI (School Staff Instructor). Already she has improved the running of the CCF significantly and has been a great support to me personally. She never stops working for our Cadets and works on her off days securing uniform and training opportunities!”
Year 11 students spoke about the news and their experiences in the Magnus CCF (RAF). Sgt Tristan Knighton said, “I have learnt so much, and the Cadets has really improved my confidence. I have always wanted to be in the Cadets and learn more about the RAF in particular. I think Sqn Leader Wills deserves this honour; she’s been doing this since she was 13 and she’s helping others now. She has put such a lot of effort and commitment into the cadets.”
Cpl Zach Bache-Smith agreed saying, “Sqn Leader Wills has joined us and that is opening up more opportunities for us. I joined Cadets to learn skills that will help me in future, and also, to get an idea of what being in the RAF would be like.” Sgt Seth Bell said “I like the opportunities to go to camps and the skills you learn in cadets. We are offered time spent at RAF bases, weekend camps and occasionally a week away at a camp. It’s easy to make good friends in cadets.”
Sgt Riley Jo Voyce said, “It’s great that Sqn Ldr Wills has received this honour, we all feel lucky to be working with her. I joined cadets to make my family proud and have family members in the army and RAF. I have learnt many new skills, including first aid and leadership and my confidence has improved too.”
Sqn Ldr Wills says she is confident about the future of Magnus CCF (RAF), and the skills it gives to students. “They won’t just walk away from Magnus with GCSEs, they will have other qualifications too, practical, applicable skills. I’m delighted to work here, -this is really my hobby that I am lucky enough to do as a job!”