High-flying cadet nominated for Young Citizen Award

Young Citizen Award nominee Sayankan Sivakumar from Ilford

Young Citizen Award nominee Sayankan Sivakumar from Ilford - Credit: Archant

A teenager who has travelled across the world to represent the Royal Air Force has been nominated for a Young Citizen Award.

Sayankan Sivakumar has been put forward for the accolade in recognition of his work as an Air Cadet with 282 Squadron, based in East Ham.

The 19-year-old, who lives in Stainforth Road, Ilford, has risen to the ranks of Cadet Corporal.

Earlier this year he represented the London Wing Air Cadets at the Sun ‘n’ Fun Air Show in Florida.

The event aims to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world class events and the education of people of all ages. The air show which he worked on is the second biggest in the world, run by volunteers from around the world. Sayankan was supported with a £300 grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation, which nominated him for the award.


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The youngster worked as a marshal where his role was paramount in lining up the aircraft for take-off and landing.

More than 10,000 aircraft were involved in the air show, ranging from commercial aeroplanes to fighter jets.

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With other representatives from the Kent and Sussex Air Cadet Wings, Sayankan worked alongside members of the US Air Force and Civil Air Patrol.

Speaking after the event, he said: “The days were long and challenging and we worked from 5 in the morning until 8 at night, but we put mind over matter and got the job done.

“When Sun ‘n’ Fun had four times the amount of people expected show up, they needed a hand and we gave them two. Even US newspapers, radio and TV approached us for interview and congratulated us on what a wonderful job we were doing.”

A spokesman for the Jack Petchey Foundation paid tribute to Sayankan’s dedication and hard work.

He said: “While the main aims of the cadet programme is to provide citizenship training and skills useful in both service and civilian life, it encourages a practical interest in aviation, and it is enthusiastic individuals like Sayankan who also inspire the next generation to become a part of the RAF community.”

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