A man who joined the air cadets at the age of 14 has been awarded the Lord Lieutenant's Certificate of Meritorious Service for turning the Slough squadron into one of the most successful in the area.

Flight Lieutenant Luke Baker remembers the day he joined the cadets. He said: "I saw a stall in the local carnival and never looked back. I wanted to try something new that would teach me new skills, make new friends and give me a new adventure."

He spent time as a volunteer staff member at Bracknell, Reading and Woodley squadrons, before moving to 153(Slough) Squadron in Uxbridge Road on January 31, 2013 where he has been ever since, becoming Commanding Officer in 2017.

During his time with Slough the squadron numbers have increased to 90 and over the last year the squadron won the Thames Valley Wing Junior Boys Football competition in 2018, and the overall boys Thames Valley Wing Athletics competition in 2019.

Luke said: "We have started the formation of a squadron band and have engaged with the community at events such as the horticultural show and poppy appeal events, working particularly closely with the mayor's office. The biggest enjoyment comes from watching the young people grow as people, grow in confidence and achieve things they never would have been able to achieve if they weren’t in the cadets."

His day job is as a special needs manager at Cranbury College, a school for students that are permanently excluded from school.

His citation from the Lord Lieutenant mentions his work as Wing Child Protection Officer, Heart Start and Mental Health instructor and with Slough Borough Council as a lead for planning military commemorative events.

Now Luke, who lives in Wokingham, hopes others will volunteer.

He said: "We will always welcome anybody aged 20 or over as a new volunteer for civilian or uniformed posts."

Please contact oc.153@aircadets.org or visit https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/want-to-join/join-as-an-adult-volunteer/ for more information.