Since her appointment as the West Midlands Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet in April, Flight Sergeant Bethany Edmonds, 487 (Kingstanding & Perry Barr) Squadron has had a busy time attending events across the West Midlands County, meeting many of the local glitterati and a few members of the Royal Family. Many of the occasions are to reward local people and organisations who are to receive recognition for their services to Industry or the Community.
She was appointed along with Cadets from the Sea Cadets Corps, Royal Marine Cadets and Army Cadet Forces and represents the Air Cadet Organisation on these occasions.
Flight Sergeant Edmonds first duty after her Investiture evening at The Birmingham Council House was at The Coventry City Mission on the 1st October 2014. The Mission was to receive the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services which is usually presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County, acting on the Queen’s behalf. However, on this occasion, the award was being presented by Prince Edward and so this was a big first event for FS Edmonds to get her teeth into. She attended the event in her best RAF No1 uniform and handed the award and certificate to the Prince, for presentation to the awardees. After the big event and during some small talk exchanged between our FS and the Prince, he commented on just how smart she was and how much of a credit she was to the Air Cadet Organisation.
Her second event was as a last minute replacement, due to the illness of another of the County Lord-Lieutenant Cadets, and it just so happened, that it was another royal visit. Flight Sergeant Edmonds attended The Hope Centre in Halesowen, to present another Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. This time she assisted Prince Richard to present the awards. The Hope Centre is a charity assisting disadvantaged people to get their lives “back on track” if they had gone slightly off the rails, providing educational and vocational training as well as emotional and religious support. Flight Sergeant Edmonds commented, “The people that I have met and spoke to today were just so truly and honestly inspirational. It was such a humbling day; it made me realise just how prestigious these awards really are. The things that people do here are genuinely life changing, and it’s such an amazing opportunity to meet such phenomenal people.”
Her third appearance was at Ishida Europe with the Lord-Lieutenant himself this time. It was to present the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Flight Sergeant Edmonds and the Lord-Lieutenant upon arrival were taken to a conference suite for tea, coffee and cakes (If you know our FS, you’ll realise this is a very exciting part of her day, as she loves her food.). Following refreshments, the formalities began with the presentation of awards to two of the gentlemen who worked there. The ceremony was being recorded and the Lord-Lieutenant invited her to make a speech about herself and her role as the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet. After this she was invited to take a tour of the factory which was really interesting and definitely an opportunity most wouldn’t be offered. After the tour it was buffet and champagne time. Obviously she enjoyed the buffet, but sadly had to decline the champagne, but had a great time chatting for several hours with the people who worked at Ishida Europe to appreciate just how special the work they do there is and just how deserving of this award they are.
Flight Sergeant Edmonds most recent event was one closer to home. She was invited to attend the re-dedication of the Barr Beacon War Memorial. She greeted the Lord-Lieutenant upon arrival and accompanied him on the stage during his address. The children from local schools had prepared readings and songs, which was a great sight from the stage, especially seeing all of the smiles during the pouring rain. Poppy wreaths were laid and hymns sung followed by a salute and a silence to remember the fallen. The local children then sang a final song to round off the day.
FS Edmonds is appreciative of the role in which she has been given and commented about her experiences so far:
“What an honour. I have done many amazing things, not only in my cadet career but in other aspects of my life, but this role is nothing like I have done before; the people I have met and the things that these people have been capable of doing. Never have I met so many people deserving of recognition, and to be aiding the presentations to acknowledge their achievements is an unbelievable honour. My investiture is nothing like I’d have imagined it would be; it is 100 times better. I feel so proud to be representing the Air Cadets in the way that I am, and there are many more things to come. I am attending the official opening of the new ‘WW1 in the Air’ Exhibition at the RAF Cosford Air Museum as a guest of the Lord-Lieutenant, later on this month and there is another amazing invitation that has been extended to me after my investiture is complete, so stay tuned.
Flt Lt O’Neill, OC 487 added: “It has certainly been a busy year so far and will continue for the remainder of her term in office as the Lord Lieutenant has a very busy schedule in the coming months.”