AN AIR training corps leader who has been involved with Tavistock’s squadron ‘man and boy’ since 1965 said he was ‘honoured’ to be recognised with a mayor’s award in his home town.

Sqn leader John Olver, 71, was recently presented with the ‘long service award’ by West Devon mayor Caroline Mott for his long dedication to 2312 Squadron (Tavistock).

He has been involved with the squadron since he joined in 1965 aged 13 as a cadet, and became an officer of the ATC aged 21 and going on to serve as its commanding officer three times.

‘It is very nice to have the recognition in your own town,’ he said. ‘It has been an amazing experience really. I have been to many many RAF stations, unfortunately some of them are shut now, and I have had flights in a variety of aircraft. I have also enjoyed the shooting, which is one of my hobbies anyway. It is an amazing experience for the youngsters. Some of them come down absolutely beaming when they have been flying and done a loop or a barrel roll. Even if they look a bit white, they have done it. For me, the best part is knowing that we have helped them through their teenage years and giving them great experiences, helping them develop confidence.’

John undertook his role alongside his job as a police officer.

‘Over my years in the cadets I have had tremendous support from my wife Rica and numerous volunteer civilian instructors whose help running the Tavistock Squadron was invaluable.’