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Surprise award for inspirational' youth organisation leader

PUBLISHED: 11:36 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 10:54 12 August 2010

A YOUTH leader has received a top honour for his inspirational work with young people, after leading a group for 25 years.

A YOUTH leader has received a top honour for his inspirational work with young people, after leading a group for 25 years.

Flight Lieutenant Kevin Mehmet, 52, head of 1475 Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) in Dulwich, received the surprise award during a visit to the centre by Lewisham council chief Councillor Barrie Anderson on April 14.

Flt Lt Mehmet, of Norlands Crescent, Chislehurst, has led the unit, rated the best in London, since he took over as commanding officer in 1985.

Kevin Mehmet said: "I was bowled over. Astonished. I am overwhelmed with this award and deeply honoured, but it is just not me to be honoured. This award must be shared equally with my two officers, Flying Officer Richard Wash my operations officer and Flt Lt Matthew Impey my Adjutant and deputy commander."

"They too play a big part and work incredibly hard to make 1475 Squadron one of the best in the country."

After visiting the Dulwich headquarters of the high flying cadets, Mr Anderson presented Flt Lt Mehmet with an engraved grass plaque which read "In recognition of your outstanding contribution in shaping the lives of young people, 2010", in front of 100 cadets and staff.

Lewisham council voted to give the high accolade to Mr Mehmet after the proposal was passed to reward his lifetime achievement.

Father-of-two Mr Mehmet works as front-of-house manager at the British Library in Kings Cross. He joined the organisation as a 14-year-old cadet in 1972.

His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, 15, is also involved in the Air Cadets, as a Cadet Corporal at 228 Bromley Squadron.

The 1475 Squadron is rated top out of 32 ATC centres in London. It was founded in Lewisham in 1941, and has so far raised £31,000 for the RAF Benevolent fund by producing concerts.

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