Squadron Leader Roger Beech RAFAC, who started out as 13-year-old cadet in Blackwood, was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

He was nominated for his role as Wing Staff Officer, Headquarters No. 1 Welsh Wing, Air Training Corps with his citation praising his outstanding leadership qualities, commitment, dedication and longevity.

He has spent nearly 45 years as Squadron Commander, during which he has helped to develop more than 600 young people and provide them with citizenship, leadership and teamwork skills. Through his leadership, his staff and cadets have raised thousands of pounds for a vast array of charities.

On receiving the MBE, Squadron Leader Beech said: “I am normally never one lost for words. My Regional Commandant, Group Captain Simon, certainly silenced me when he told me the news. It’s difficult to put into words but gobsmacked would sum it up!

“This award is at the top of my very long career along with when one of my cadets, Cpl Matthew Roderick, opened the Cadet Debate in the House of Lords on the First World War – truly remarkable.

“And that’s what the Royal Air Force Air Cadets is all about – the MBE is something I will always be proud of but also the many cadets that I have met over the years for they have been my inspiration and my reward.”

Roger joined 277 (Blackwood) Squadron as a cadet himself, aged 13, and attained the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer. He later became a Squadron OC before becoming a Wing Sports Officer and then being appointed as the Central Sector Commander in the Wing.

He finally stood down as OC 277 Squadron after 40 years in command. Since then he has served as the president of No. 1 Welsh Wing Sports Council.

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