Cadet Nick is walking on air after a drum solo earns him a special badge

RIPON Air Cadet Nick Powell has just returned from a triumphant solo performance to an audience of hundreds, including the cadets' "top man" – the Commandant Air Cadets.

The concert, featuring Nick's drum solo, was the culmination of a week-long course at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell.

Sixteen-year-old Nick, who attends Ripon Grammar School, is a member of 886 (City of Ripon) Squadron Air Training Corps and was joined by 46 other cadet musicians from around the country.

Selected from among the 35,000 cadets nationwide, they formed the ATC national band for 2007 and spent a week at Cranwell rehearsing with the RAF Regiment Band before staging a concert on the final night.

As well as spending a lot of time rehearsing, the cadets managed to find time to visit RAF Scampton to meet the pilots of The Red Arrows.

The week included first aid training, command and leadership tasks and drill training, culminating in a competition at the end of the week.

The cadets also attended a ‘dining in’ night, where they got to experience a formal military dinner with the Air Cadets' Chief of Staff, Group Captain Mike Cross.

The course ended with the concert given on the final night in front of an invited audience that included Air Commodore Gordon Moulds, Commandant Air Cadets.

Nick said: "The best bit was my solo during the final performance, when everything all came together. I was really nervous going on, but it was an incredible feeling when I was up there."

Nick is now the only member of his squadron qualified to wear the Instrumentalist's badge on his brassard.

Ripon squadron is currently recruiting new cadets aged 13 years or older and volunteer adult staff aged 20 and over.

They meet at the Cadet Centre on Clotherholme Road every Tuesday and Friday from 7pm - 9.15pm. Anyone interested should contact the squadron on 01765 609622 or email the commanding officer at