A TEENAGER from Broadstone is celebrating after becoming one of the country’s youngest qualified gliding pilots aged 18.

Drew Giggins, who is a member of the 149 Poole Squadron of the Air Cadets, has been awarded his Grade One Wings after completing a two year training course.

It means that Drew, an A-level pupil at Corfe Hills School, is now qualified to provide initial experience flights for younger air cadets, bringing him a step closer to his dream of becoming a commercial air pilot.

Drew is also a Flight Staff Cadet at 622 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, based at Upavon in Wiltshire, and spends alternate weekends with the squadron to continue his gliding training. He said: “I have wanted to be a pilot since I was young and my parents noticed the Air Cadets, which they thought I might be interested in.

“I found that the field craft was fun, as was running around like soldiers, but the whole experience of flying was just something that I enjoyed the most. The 622 Volunteer Gliding Squadron has helped me a lot, giving me advice, and I’ve spoken to somebody there who is a commercial airline pilot, which is what I want to become.”

Squadron Leader Steve Goddard, Officer Commanding of the Gliding Squadron, said: “This is a massive achievement for an 18-year-old cadet.”

He added: “He is a great role model for the younger cadets.”

Anyone who is aged between 14 and 18 who wishes to find out about the three Dorset squadrons can contact Roger Starling on 01929 553822.