Ace flyer Bridget is number one cadet

Bridget Donaldson at the controls after gaining her pilot's licence.
Bridget Donaldson at the controls after gaining her pilot's licence.

A high-flying air cadet has been named the best in the country.

Eighteen-year-old Bridget Donaldson has beaten 50,000 candidates to win the RAF Air Cadets’ most prestigious award, the Dacre Brooch.

Presented to the Air Training Corps by Elizabeth Dacre in 1982 in memory of her husband Air Commodore GB Dacre CBE, the brooch is awarded annually to one cadet deemed the best in the country, based on all-round performance.

Bridget is a committed member of 404 Morpeth Squadron and is the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for the Duchess of Northumberland, a role in which she escorts the Duchess on official duties.

The brooch has not been won by an individual in the North of England for over 30 years since the first winner, Fiona Brown, also of Morpeth.

Bridget was presented with her award by Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty.

Squadron Commander Flight Lieutenant Bob Donothey said: “Bridget fully deserves this award and I am pleased to add another Dacre Brooch winner’s photo to my office wall.”

As well as being an active member of her squadron and studying full-time for her A-Levels, Bridget is a Grade 1 Flying Instructor and travels down to 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at RAF Topcliffe in Yorkshire every weekend to teach students how to fly the Vigilant T1 aircraft.

She also gained her full private pilot’s licence last summer after winning the Annual RAFA Flying Scholarship.

This summer she is travelling to Ghana on a diplomatic exchange with the Air Training Corps. She will work with the embassy and Ghanaian Air Force, as well as visit orphanages and carry out charitable work.

“She will even meet the High Chief and President of Ghana.

Bridget said: “After University my goal is to join the RAF as a fast jet pilot.

“I’m so honoured to receive the Dacre Brooch and could not have achieved such a prestigious accolade without everyone who has helped and supported me along the way.

“I really hope that I can give something back to the Corps by inspiring other cadets and opening their eyes to the amazing opportunities the organisation has to offer.”

Officer Jordan Cameron said: “It’s clear to see just by looking at Flight Sergeant Donaldson’s collection of awards that she is a very high achiever.

“Bridget is a very promising pilot and we look forward to seeing her achieve even more.