A NEW squadron crest for a local cadet group was dedicated at a service in Basingstoke.

The crest, created with the help of Garter College of Arms, in London, is the first to be officially designed for a cadet group in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

The college carried out research for the crest design, which will be used by 443 (Basingstoke) Squadron Air Cadets, and which features Odiham Castle, St Michael’s dragon and the motto Aspire, Challenge, Achieve.

A draft design was submitted for approval by Flight Lieutenant John Tunesi, from the RAF, who acted as liaison between the squadron and the college.

The unique design is now permanently lodged at the RAF College, in Cranwell, Lincolnshire.

The service at St Gabriel’s Church, in Tewkesbury Close, Popley, was led by The Reverend Arthur Botham, area dean of Basingstoke and chaplain to the Basingstoke Squadron Air Cadets.

Cadets, their families and civilian officers attended the service of dedication, and were joined by Air Vice-Marshal Paul Luker, president of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Cadet Force, and Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, Wing Commander Peter Priest.

The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Dan Putty was also present, along with representatives from RAF Odiham and the Basingstoke branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.

Speaking about the crest, Flight Lieutenant Ian Bruce, squadron leader of 443, which has 32 members, said: “It gives the young adults we look after a corporate identity, and the crest is there forever. We are the first in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to go through this process.”

The crest cost £500 to produce and has been put on T-shirts and key rings.