On a warm and sunny morning in February members of Henley Sea Cadets, TS Guardian, gathered at their Wargrave Road headquarters in Henley on Thames to name their brand new training and safety boat. The state of the art plastic rigid hulled power boat is believed to be the first of its kind in use in the Sea Cadets. 'It gives us a more up to date and capable craft to allow both training of cadets and also for assisting in major events held in Henley on Thames,' said the Officer Commanding Sub Lieutenant Carl Newman. 'And it adds to the variety of craft we can now teach the cadets how to use.'
Sea Cadet units are standalone units responsible for their own funding. 'The cadets have been working hard raising money toward this boat,' said the Chairman of the Henley Sea Cadets Phil Fletcher, 'and had been making inroads towards the total required so this kind offer to provide the remaining money by both Berkshire Freemasons and the national masonic charity has allowed us to buy it right now. That means Henley’s Sea Cadets will be using the boat from this spring without waiting another 6 months to a year to collect the money needed'. All local Sea Cadet units will benefit as Newman explains: 'being based here on the river our base is used by many other cadet units for all sorts of training from sailing to wind surfing, having a hugely effective safety boat makes us able to put more cadets out on the water. In all over 450 cadets from the local area could benefit directly from this investment.'
Martin Peters, Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire said 'it was a pleasure to be able to help. Henley Sea Cadets helped us to organise a major fundraising event last year at the Chiltern Centre and we felt that we should offer some support. When they told us what their main fundraising effort was it was a perfect fit.' Pouring some bubbly over the new boat he named it The Berkshire Freemason. 'It was a real honour that the Sea Cadets decided to name the boat after the county Freemasons,' said Martin Peters. 'Masons quietly donate millions of pounds to charities each year with the National Charity donating over 10 Million to good causes.'
Phil Fletcher also thanked all the other groups present who help to support the unit. 'I am quite overwhelmed with the level of support today; from ex-Sea Cadets to local Rotarians and other groups it is a huge turnout, thank you for the support.'
Parade timings are: Senior Cadets (12-17 years) and Marine Cadets (13-17 years); Mondays and Fridays 7:15pm - 9:30pm. Junior Cadets (10 & 11 year olds); Fridays only 7:15pm - 9:30pm.