A FORMER commanding officer of the Knutsford Air Cadets has been chosen to lead RAF women in the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance parade in London this weekend.

Flight lieutenant Natasha Sirley, 28, will take the lead at the Royal Albert Hall event on Saturday, November 11 in front of the Queen and other members of the royal family, live on BBC One.

Natasha, whose granddad was an air force engineer, was commanding officer of the Knutsford Air Cadets from 2011 until 2013 before training to become an officer at RAF Cranwell.

She completed a five-month operational tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2016 and is now a serving officer stationed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

She said: “I feel extremely honoured to have been selected and I’ve always wanted to do it. You put your name down every year if you want to do it and they only ever have one female officer.

“They seem to like people who have done an operational tour and now I’ve done that and because of my rank, I think that’s why I’ve been selected.

“We have a whole week of drills, parading and rehearsals and loads of practice. We will have training Monday to Friday and we’re trained by the Queen’s Colour Squadron. From what I’ve heard from others who have done it, they separate the men and the women and so I think I’ll be leading out the RAF women.”

The festival is held every year to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice across historical and current conflicts.

There will be two performances in the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, with the latter televised on BBC One from 9pm.

Mum Candice Reeves and stepdad Richard, of Ashley Road, will be watching along with the nation.

Candice said: “Natasha always wanted to go into the RAF. She volunteered, did all of the courses and then got commissioned.

“We are proud of all Natasha’s achievements and know she is very honoured to be taking part in this important ceremony.”