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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland


NEWS

HONOUR FOR RAF AIR CADETS LEADER

28 January 2021

The outstanding service and commitment of a local RAF Air Cadets Officer has earned him recognition in the prestigious British Citizen Awards, known as ‘The People’s Honours’.

 

RAF Air Cadets Officer Flight Lieutenant Graham Dodds, Officer Commanding County Tyrone & County Fermanagh RAF Air Cadets, will receive the 'Medal of Honour', a highprofile national award which recognises individuals who make exceptional contributions to their communities.

 

Graham is one of twenty-seven people from across the United Kingdom to be honoured and will be the first and only recipient from Northern Ireland. He will be formally presented with the medal and Certificate of Commendation, post pandemic, at a formal reception at the House of Lords.

 

Naturally delighted with the accolade, Graham said, “I am extremely honoured to be receiving such an important national award and am genuinely grateful for the recognition received from my nominators and those who have supported my work in the community.

“I have always been passionate about the importance of promoting good citizenship within society and, living and working in an area of significant social and economic deprivation, I have been proud to work towards addressing imbalance by teaching, coaching, mentoring and, hopefully, being a good role model to young people.   

“It is vital that we all contribute to building bridges between communities previously isolated from each other and, in the current challenging climate, I believe more of us are also recognising the value of simple kindness.

“I’m thrilled with the award, but of course, it’s not due to my efforts alone.  In particular my thanks go to wife, Nicola, and my sons, Ethan and Alexander, as well as the staff, cadets and community members I have been honoured to work with over the years."

Graham is no stranger to achievement, having earned the 2018 'Currie Sword' for 'Best Commissioned Officer' in Scotland & Northern Ireland Region, the 2019 Trophy for 'Best Commissioned Officer' in Northern Ireland and, in 2020, the Commandant Air Cadets Commendation for Meritorious Service.

 

Congratulating Graham on this latest accolade, Wing Commander, Chris Hodges said, “We are delighted to see this formal recognition for a sterling and hugely popular individual whose talents, dedication and enthusiasm combine to shape young lives within our community.

 

“His determination to do the very best for the Cadets under his care and tutelage knows no bounds.  When he took over as Officer Commanding County Tyrone & County Fermanagh RAF Air Cadets in 2013 he immediately made it his mission to find smart new premises for them.  He became the driving force that moved ‘his’ Cadets from ageing prefab mobiles to a stunning £660K purpose-built accommodation. He also encouraged the Cadets to think of others and, In 2018, Graham led his Squadron on a massive charity drive to benefit the RAF Association, winning the 'Sir Douglas Bader' fundraising Trophy in the process.

 

Since 2013, Graham has held the position of Officer Commanding of 72 Omagh Squadron Royal Air Force Cadets (RAFAC) based at St Lucia Barracks, Omagh.  Graham was commissioned as an RAFAC Officer after passing the Officers and Aircrew selection centre at RAF College Cranwell and currently holds the rank of Flight Lieutenant.  In addition to  his responsibilities as Officer Commanding of RAFAC in Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, Graham is also Regional Media Communications Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland RAFAC, responsible for promoting the RAFAC throughout the region ensuring that cadet units are acknowledged for their success and hard work, as well as supporting recruitment and development. He is also a member of the Northern Ireland Wing Training Team and a Training Officer and Flight Commander on the national Air Cadet Leadership Course at RAF Cranwell