Guildford Sea Cadets
Guildford Sea Cadets have celebrated their 70th Anniversary with a special ceremony.
The group was founded in October 1942, becoming the 164th unit to be formed in the country. There are now more than 400 units nationwide and the town’s Cadets boast a membership of around 65 cadets, which includes boys and girls aged from 10 to 18.
The unit began life at a parade at Northmead Senior Boys School, with 90 young people attending. They met at some small huts at the bottom of Lawn Road before the existing buildings in Dapdune Wharf were used in September 1962. Dame Vera Lynn was the principal guest at the opening ceremony the following year.
Last week the 70-year milestone was marked with celebrations at their current meeting place, beginning with an inspection of the Cadets, a tour of the unit and the chance for visitors to meet the youngsters and staff.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Colin Whitear was awarded a rare certificate of commendation from the Captain of the Sea Cadet Corps, recognising that the Guildford unit has performed in the “Best traditions” during the year, upholding the values of the corps and “Providing outstanding training and leadership for Cadets and Volunteers.
The High Sheriff of Surrey, Karin Sehmer, presented it to Lt Whitear, and also gave the unit burgee – the Sea Cadet’s 2012 Efficiency Award.
The awards adhere to a national standard and is only given to the top 25% of units in the country. This was the town’s sixth burgee in succession.
Other important guests included vice admiral Peter Dunt, President of Guildford Sea Cadets, Lieutenant Commander Kevin Milligan, Surrey area district officer, Richard Smith, Surrey area district chairman, Margaret Reeder from Sillrey Care Trust and Hugh Clarke, past chairman president of the Cadets. Representatives from the local business community and Guildford Borough Council also attended.
Commander Mike Evans, chairman of the Guildford Sea Cadets, said: ”In 1942 it was very,much geared towards getting some form of military training before entering the Armed Forces. Nowadays the emphasis isn’t on recruiting for the Armed Forces, it’s about making responsible adults using a maritime curriculum.
We teach them self-worth, being a member of a team, team leadership and development of skills.
He said since Lt Whitear took on his role more than 16 years ago, none of the Cadets have been in trouble with the law. In the last 18 months, the membership has increased by about 25% and more volunteer staff are needed to help at the two sessions per week.
Mr Evans added: “Each Sea Cadet unit is a standalone charity and has to raise its own funds as there is no direct funding from the Ministry of Defence, unlike the Army and Air cadets. We’re always on the look out for funds as running the unit day-to-day costs about £18,000 a year:’
To continue to celebrate the Anniversary year, the unit is looking for donations to buy a second minibus, refurbish its galley and replace some boating equipment.
For more information, visit www.guildfordseacadets.co.uk