Alex is flying high as top-ranking air cadet

Alexander MacRae

Alexander MacRae - Credit: Archant

A hard-working teenager who spends hours helping his local community is in a competition that hails the ‘giving to others’ of Cambridgeshire’s younger generation.

Air cadet Alexander MacRae, from Chatteris, has led his March squadron to winning cadet competitions and regularly volunteers to help out at local events.

Now he has been nominated for the KISS Communications Young People of the Year awards or ‘YOPEYs’ – Oscars for young people who give to others – which closes to entries this week.

Nineteen-year-old Alex, of Gull Way, Chatteris, was nominated by Steve Johnson, training officer at the Air Training Corp in neighbouring March, where Alex is a cadet. Alex is the highest ranking cadet in the squadron of 35 cadets.

Steve said: “Alex is an extremely conscientious person who has high standards and works hard to maintain them and encourage others to do likewise. His competitive nature drives him to continually improve, he is determined and a good team player.

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“Alex teaches cadets training for senior and master cadet level. He is the squadron banner bearer and led them to win the sector competition last year. in the last year he has taken on the role of drum major for the squadron band.

“Alex is also a keen sportsman and has represented the Cambridgeshire Wing against 150 other teams in football every year since being a cadet and now helps select the team.

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“He has completed his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award, the Silver National Navigation Award, the Communicators Award and Activity First Aid.”

Alex finished his A-levels at Neale Wade Academy in March this summer and is off to the University of East Anglia this month to study Environmental Sciences. He was hoping to have a career in the military but two years ago discovered he had a peanut allergy that ruled him out.

“I’ve always been interested in the military, but I have a peanut allergy, so can’t join the forces. I have to carry an epi-pen as it can be life-threatening as my airways could close.”

Every Tuesday and Friday Alex has been attending the 1220 (March) Squadron ATC, and then helps leads the squadron’s extra activities at weekends and during holidays.

“I’ve been involved with the squadron for over five years, and have worked my way up from cadet through corporal and sergeant to flight sergeant,” he said.

“I trained the banner team for two years and we won northern sector competitions for Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire for three years.”

Alex also trained with St John Ambulance to get a youth first-aid award. “I’ve used it for minor cuts, heat stroke and hypothermia, during our Easter camp for cadets.”

During the Christmas lights switch-on in March each year, he was involved in crowd control with his squadron.

“We stood on the barriers and stopped cars coming in. We radio in if there are any issues, like people needing special permission to enter. We also deal with first-aid issues. It tends to be small things like twisted ankles, that sort of thing.”

And during his Duke of Edinburgh bronze, silver and gold awards he volunteered to help the local community.

“I’ve done hours of volunteering, like litter-picking once a fortnight in March, guards of honour at mayoral events and helping at Ramsey’s 1940s weekend.”

Alex says he enjoys filling his time with lots of activities. He is a keen sportsman and plays football, rugby and tennis, as well as swimming. But his busy life doesn’t stop there as he also has two part-time jobs at Waitrose and Boots. “I work every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.”

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