Hands-on heritage experience for local cadets

20110903- Volunteers at Air Station Museum. ''"Andy Thompson Photography", '"Copyright Andy Thompson Photography", '"No use without payment", '"www.atimages.com",
20110903- Volunteers at Air Station Museum. ''"Andy Thompson Photography", '"Copyright Andy Thompson Photography", '"No use without payment", '"www.atimages.com",

LOCAL air cadets have been taken back to the origins of the RAF through a unique project with Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, which concluded at the weekend.

Youngsters from the Montrose squadron, along with a contingent from Fife, have been working with the centre as part of the Young Roots programme to help restore and enhance some of its artefacts and exhibits.

Devised by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the scheme aims to interest young people in their heritage and its conclusion was marked on Saturday with an opportunity for the cadets to show off their work to representatives from the HLF, Angus Council and their own organisation.

The project brought together young people from the Montrose, Auchtermuchty and Dunfermline squadrons who each had to deal with very different challenges.

Heritage centre curator Daniel Paton said: “The Montrose squadron have been involved in making a new propeller mounting for the centre’s replica Sopwith Camel.

“Camels were a common sight over Montrose towards the end of the First World War. The cadets attached a genuine Sopwith Camel propeller to the replica machine. They have also been restoring a small biplane which they have painted red and stuck black crosses on to turn it into the Red Baron, available for visiting children to sit in and operate the controls.

“The Auchtermuchty squadron was involved in moving a Vampire aircraft from the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune to RAF Leuchars where it has been in safe keeping until last week when it was transported to Montrose. They were reunited with the aircraft which is fully assembled at the heritage centre and they set up a display about their project.

“The Dunfermline squadron has designed and built new engine stands from steel fabricated in the workshop equipped with money from the Young Roots grant. These will be fitted to the heritage centre’s collection of historic aircraft engines to create a display demonstrating the development of aircraft propulsion.”

The scheme was praised by Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, who toured the museum to watch the cadets finishing off their projects.

He said: “We’re thrilled that these young people have taken such an interest in their heritage. Through this project they have made new friends, had great experiences and learned new skills which will be important to them for future employment.

“They have also helped preserve and interpret highlights in Scotland’s aviation history for others to learn from and enjoy.”