Marching event tests endurance of air cadet team

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

A group of eight air cadets and three staff from the region overcame a series of challenges to complete the course at the largest marching event in the world.

Those representing the Durham and Northumberland wing of the Air Training Corps (ATC) at the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands included Cpl Sophie Telford, who also took part last year, and Civilian Instructor (CI) Dougie Lang of the 404 (Morpeth) Squadron.

Members of the Durham and Northumberland wing of the Air Training Corps during the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen event.

Members of the Durham and Northumberland wing of the Air Training Corps during the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen event.

The gruelling 100-mile Vierdaagse marches are held annually over four days and it was an early start on each day.

Once the team got on the road, it was the marching they had trained for but in an atmosphere that has to be experienced to be believed.

Even at 5am, the residents of Nijmegen were out on the streets, clapping and cheering the participants along in the hot conditions.

CI Lang said: “The locals were amazing with their constant encouragement and offer of food and drink. Many of the sections of the march would have been far more difficult without their support.”

After arriving in the Netherlands and before the marches, the cadets visited the National Liberation Museum at Groesbeek and attended the Military Memorial at Arnhem, where a number of graves of soldiers from Durham and Northumberland are located, to pay their respects.

On the final day, all but one of the team crossed the finish line – after blood, blisters, sweat and tears – on the Via Gladioli in Nijmegen to complete the marches.

The wing was runner-up in the Jon Ford Trophy category for Best ATC team.