ROYAL Air Force cadets facing the threat of eviction are campaigning to stay in Highworth.

The 878 (Highworth) Squadron leases a small section of land owned by Wiltshire Police who now intend to sell the entire plot as the police station there has been closed. Youngsters in the squadron regularly use the purpose-built building for community events, training, and to help out at the Highworth fireworks display, remembrance parades, Christmas lights switch-on and Wrde Up Festival.

Cadets and their parents hope that Wiltshire Police will change their minds because it would be difficult to find a new location which could fit the equipment, accommodation and training facilities provided at the current site.

Rachel Revill from the civilian committee and parent action group said: "It's in a great location, everything's already set up and there's nothing else in the local area for them like it, it gives them opportunities they don't get at school. I've got two children here and they enjoy doing so many different things."

Fiona Baddeley is part of the same committee. She said: "My daughter has been a cadet since she was 13 and she's off to university in September. It's given her so much confidence and independence, she's learned life lessons and skills."

Colin Jones from Highworth said: "My daughter Chloe joined last year and she's absolutely loving it. My sister used to come here back in the '90s and I think it's very important to the cadets."

Over the last three years, the group has grown from 12 members to 50 and won the most improved squadron award for the Dorset and Wiltshire wing. The eviction would lead to the loss of a vital radio link to RAF Fairford used during the Air Tattoo and of a training area for first aid and leadership skills, and the Ministry of Defence - and by extension, the taxpayer - having to cover the cost of removing the old building and leasing a new one.

An air cadets spokeswoman added: “We fully understand and appreciate the need for housing in the local area, and it is not our intention to inhibit the raising of essential funds for the police. However, we believe that a solution could be found which benefits both parties that would permit the Squadron to remain in place, while maintaining safe and effective policing of the local area.”