National Volunteers’ Week – Meet the staff

We are on day 3 of National Volunteers’ Week. We’ve heard from our Chaplain Rev. Cooke and also Sergeant McCarry. I hope you are enjoying learning a bit more about our staff.

Today we have Sergeant Esther Taylor who has been with the squadron almost 4 years and is a key member of the team. Sergeant Taylor has been running the virtual parade nights from her home whilst we have been in this time of suspended face to face activities so lets hear what she has to tell us.

Sgt Taylor pictured on an Air Experience Flight at RAF Cranwell

Q. What is your job in real life?

A. So currently I work at KFC I am a Team Member there. But I am hoping to join the Royal Air Force, I did apply at the beginning of the year. I’m just waiting for the selection process to start up again over the next few months. And hopefully I’ll be an Air Steward and coming back to the organisation as a Service Instructor rather than as a Sergeant.

Q. How long have you been in the RAFAC?

A. I have been in 13 years this September. I’ve been at 3 squadrons, I started out at (2000) Eckington Squadron, I then transferred to (1325) Dinnington Squadron in South and West Yorkshire Wing and I then became a member of staff while I was there. I did age out as a Corporal. And then I transferred to Brimington Squadron where I am at now, and I got through the process of becoming a uniformed member of staff, and on the 7th June 2017 was promoted to Sergeant. That appointment was given to me by my Wing Commander, Wing Commander Wright. I’ve been doing that role ever since.

Q. What is your job in the RAFAC?

A. So in this organisation my job as a Sergeant is to support the cadets and the staff in drill, dress, discipline and deportment that’s just sort of a generic overview of what I do as a Sergeant and what I am expected to do everywhere I go. But on squadron specifically I am the Training and Duke of Edinburgh Officer. As a training officer I get cadets and staff through training that they need to do I either run it myself or we have staff that are qualified to run different activities, but I get cadets to sign up for those and things and progress through that progressive training syllabus that’s quite recently been brought out. I encourage staff to do their mandatory training so that they can continue volunteering with the organisation and if there’s anything they’re interested in that I see I point them in the right direction to sign up for that and get further qualifications.

Q. What extra-curricular activities did you do as a teenager other than cadets?

A. As a teenager although cadet was a really big part of my life I really enjoyed acting, I still do a little bit now, I really enjoyed acting and drama. I did visit the theatre sometimes with my Mum and with other members of my family and sometimes school. But I was part of a drama club. I completed quite a few shows with the drama club that was local to me called Killamarsh DREAMS. And some of those shows were local in the leisure centre or church hall in the village but sometimes we went to our local town and we did shows on the big stage and they were some great memories there.

Q. Why do you volunteer in the RAFAC?

A. So I grew up with both my Mum and my Dad volunteering for different organisations and working with young people with them both being teachers. My Mum in particular worked as the local Guide leader and she showed me what it was like and what she got out of volunteering, and being able to give the young people there opportunities they may not experience if they weren’t in that organisation. And that’s what I like to bring to the organisation myself, I also enjoy seeing the cadets develop from sometimes coming in from 12, 13 or 14 year olds and they’re really shy, like I was when I was a cadet, and seeing their confidence grow and seeing them grow into young adults and knowing that I’ve been a part of that and a part of helping them grow into brilliant young people, young adults.

Q. Do you have any other interests outside of the RAFAC?

A. I do I have a few, I do enjoy baking and decorating those cakes I decorate sometimes into little different shapes and things like that, so that’s a pretty good and pretty cool thing to do.

I also enjoy a bit of photography, I’m not very good I must admit, but I do go out and photograph aircraft, sometimes I’ll go to my local bases up in Lincolnshire. But I do enjoy photographing friends and family as well. Whether that’s using my mobile phone or my proper camera but that’s something I really enjoy doing.

Q. What is your favourite camp/cadet activity you have been on?

A. I’ve been on quite a few activities especially as a staff member. I’ve done a bit more as a staff member than I did as a cadet because I was little bit shy and a bit of a wuss to be fair. But I have the opportunities that have been given to me, grabbed them with both hands as a staff member.

But anyone who knows me, especially my cadets and the staff on my squadron will know exactly what my answer is for this one.

I really enjoy, my favourite thing to do in the organisation is go to RIAT, which is the Royal International Air Tattoo. I go every year this would have been my fifth year, but the show has unfortunately been cancelled because of the pandemic. But I’ve been 3 years I was there for the main camp which is just 6 days and I was flight staff, I had a flight of cadets and I supported another member of staff as well in looking after those cadets for the 6 days. And then last year I was there on the extended camp for 13 days with Team GD, that’s the general duties team, just doing general duties around the camp, helping to set up and take down the camp as well. But yeah that is my favourite part of the year by far on the cadet calendar and just on my personal calendar, because I have made a lot of friends there and we’re like our own little family now.

Sgt Taylor pictured with Sgt Lee and APO Greveson after getting an ice cream from the BFBS ice cream truck at RIAT 2019.

Q. How has life changed since COVID-19?

A. So to start out with my restaurant closed, KFC closed the day after lockdown was announced. Which meant that I went onto furlough, so I wasn’t working for a good 2 or 3 months and we’ve just recently re-opened so I’m now back to work. But because I wasn’t working, I’ve managed to get quite a few big jobs done around the house, there’s still a little bit to do. But jobs that I just didn’t find time to do whilst I’m working full time and doing cadets as well. So, I have managed to get those things done, or most of those things done. I’ve learned that I really enjoy painting and decorating as well. So, I’ve learned some new things, managed to go out in the garden. I’ve attempted to get a tan but I’m fair so that doesn’t happen very easily. But now I have returned to work and so I’m back to full time long shifts there and it is quite manic at the moment.

I have also been keeping up with cadets. Although we can’t do face to face activities, we have been doing virtual parade nights and I’ve been helping to run those as a lot of our staff are currently working as key workers, so they don’t have as much time as what I’ve been able to give to the squadron. So, I’ve been keeping cadets engaged a bit through virtual meetings.

Q. What was your favourite subject at school?

A. So I have two to be fair they both kind of link to each other. When I did my GCSEs, I chose to do music and expressive arts, so for both the subjects I really enjoyed the practical side and they’re both part of the arts. For music I really enjoyed the songs that I sang for my practical exam, the process through learning those and then performing those as well. And then for expressive arts I got to express myself through a variety of arts and not just music. So, I created a few things whether that was a video or an actual art object. But I really enjoyed that, because both subjects your crazy side could come out a little bit.

Q. What was you least favourite subject at school?

A. So my least favourite subject I have to say was maths, maths has never been my strong point, I could never get y head round sums and things, mental maths, and things. Although I enjoyed some lessons, I could never soak it in.

Q. What song will always get you on the dance floor at an end of camp disco?

A. I do love a good end of camp disco. I would say some sort of cheesy music, I love a bit of cheesy music. If you ask my colleagues at work they will probably tell you 80s – 90s music is probably my thing, but I would say Bohemian Rhapsody is probably one of the ones that would definitely get me on the dance floor. I love a good sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody. But a bit of Busted, McFly some of those kinds of things as well. That would probably get me on the dance floor, not that I can dance I must add.

Q. Name 1 useless fact about yourself?

A. Briefly I was a part of the Girl Guides, and when I was 10, I went out to Switzerland for a camp out there. I was yet to do my promise and my Mum, who was our guide leader, had for the guides who had yet to do their promise to do it on the Jungfraujoch which is one of the mountains in Switzerland. That was a really great experience to have my Mum present me with my Woggle, but yeah that was a really great experience and a useless fact.

So that’s all the questions from me, I hope you all enjoyed it.

Stay Safe and Take Care!

I hope you enjoyed another meet the staff we are about halfway through now. If you wish to watch the video please visit our Instagram page @1082sqnatc.

If you are interested in joining us by volunteering at 1082 Squadron, if you are aged 20 and over please email an enquiry to 1082@aircadets.org. No previous cadet or military experience is required.