THE chaplain to Bournemouth’s Air Cadets has retired at the age of 79.

The Rev Paul MacCarty had served for 37 years as the chaplain to cadets’ 130 (Bournemouth) Squadron.

A formal presentation was made to him by the officer in charge of 130 Squadron, Warrant Officer Jamie Green, with many former members of staff and cadets present.

Mr MacCarty, pictured, said: “I have always been a great supporter of the Air Cadet Organisation, because it enables young people to achieve their full potential and it has been my privilege and pleasure to provide them with support and encouragement over the past 37 years.”

Mr MacCarty has been interested in aviation since he was five and gained an aviation certificate while a member of Bournemouth Grammar School Combined Cadet Force. The certificate was presented to him by Lord Brabazon of Tara, the holder of the first such certificate.

He joined the RAF as ground crew in 1952 and was selected for training as a pilot. He had already gained his private pilot’s licence as a cadet sergeant in the RAF section of the Combined Cadet Force, flying the Tiger Moth.

He left the RAF in 1958 to take up a new career promoting the British motor industry throughout Europe.

He was ordained in 1975 and took up a series of appointments locally, including at Christchurch Priory.

Mr MacCarty was appointed chaplain to Bournemouth Squadron in June 1977 and, as well as his pastoral duties, he has been involved with annual camps, adventure training and radio communications.

He was awarded a Commandant’s Commendation for his work and has twice been awarded Lord Lieu-tenant’s Certificates.