Cadets from across parts of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire had an unmatched opportunity to enjoy a meet and greet with Red Arrows pilot Flight Lieutenant Patrick Kershaw on Monday 5th March, in an event hosted at 422 (Corby) Squadron RAF Air Cadets HQ. The talk, arranged by Flight Lieutenant Helen Greaves of 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron brought together over 100 cadets from neighbouring units to hear a presentation from Red 5 on his journey into the Royal Air Force and pathway to becoming a Red Arrow, before spending over half an hour answering questions from the cadets and those aspiring to join the Royal Air Force and other Armed Forces. After the formal Q&A, the cadets had time to mingle and take photographs with Flight Lieutenant Kershaw, finally followed by a formal picture of all those involved.
Honouring the end of service for one particularly lucky cadet, Flight Lieutenant Kershaw presented a leaving card and gift to Flight Sergeant Brown of 1101 (Kettering and District) Squadron, who leaves the organisation this week after 7 years of committed service before starting a new chapter. During a final parade, 'Red 5' congratulated Flt Sgt Brown on his dedication, and was delighted to sign his leaving card before wishing him the best of luck for the future.
Flight Lieutenant Kershaw said of the evening "It is always an honour and a privilege to meet cadets across the RAFAC organisation. Their interest in the Royal Air Force, and the Red Arrows team always makes for a fun and interesting talk, and their questions are often challenging, but rewarding to answer. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the cadets from Corby, Market Harborough, Daventry and Kettering, and it is my hope that a visit from serving members of the Red Arrows and wider armed forces will inspire these cadets; who are very much the future of the country; to strive to reach their goals, and let nothing stand in their way. Their enthusiasm and dedication shines through, and the commitment of the volunteers who lead them can only serve to better their futures and inspire the next generation going forward".
In 2014, Flt Lt Kershaw was posted to be a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Hawk T1 at 208 Squadron, RAF Valley. Following the disbandment of 208 Squadron, he was posted to the Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Coningsby before being posted to XI(F) Squadron. During his time on XI(F) Squadron, Patrick conducted NATO Air Policing duties in the Baltic region, UK Quick Reaction Alert, numerous exercises and served on operational duty in the Middle East.
After applying to the Red Arrows in 2019, Patrick was posted in January 2020 to the newly formed joint Royal Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force 12 Squadron, where he worked as an Instructor Pilot before joining the Red Arrows for their 2022 season as 'Red 3'. The 2023 display season will be Patrick's second year on the team, where he is now undertaking a new role as 'Red 5'.
The Red Arrows return to display later this year, with training well under way for the 2023 seasons and a promise of a new and improved routine to wow the crowds with their daring manoeuvres and close quarters flying in an adrenaline filled sequence.
For more information on the Red Arrows, you can visit their website https://www.raf.mod.uk/display-teams/red-arrows/ and for information on the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, and the opportunities that are offered through the organisation, visit https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/