DELIGHTED Bognor Regis Sea Cadets and their officers are celebrating another year as some of the best in Britain.
The 24-strong TS Sir Alec Rose has been awarded the highest grading after its annual inspection by a naval officer. Commander Trevor Price ended the evening by announcing he would recommend the unit should achieve the burgee for 2016.
It is the fourth year in a row the status has been conferred on the Longbrook-based unit. The latest success for its overall performance and efficiency is more satisfying than most because it comes just five months after two burglaries hit the cadets.
Cdr Price, of HMS Nelson in Portsmouth, praised the achievements of the cadets after their challenging year and commended them on their smartness. He said: “They were fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed the inspection. They just smiled and were clearly enjoying themselves and that’s what it’s all about.That’s the essence of being a sea cadet.
“It’s about doing a good job and having a sense of teamwork as well. Having had those unfortunate burglaries, they have clubbed together and worked hard.
“There’s a real community spirit here and I am very impressed.”
The first burglary hit the Sea Cadets on April 14. The second is believed to have occurred on April 23. Between them, they saw everything of monetary value in the detached building stolen as well as extensive damage caused to the structure. laptops, large screen displays, a safe, the Ship’s Bell, ensigns, trophies and musical instruments were among the items burgled in a total haul worth thousands of pounds.
Its chaplain, the Rev Alison Green, re-dedicated the unit at the start of last Thursday’s inspection. She said: “May it be a place of learning and laughter. May it inspire us to be people of commitment, integrity, loyalty and self-sacrifice.”
Lt Gary Edgington MBE, the officer in charge of the unit, said some of the stolen items had still to be replaced. “Tonight is the pinnacle of a series of inspections and is our equivalent of Ofsted. We are located at the heart of the community here and it’s important we stay part of that community,” he said.
The inspection saw 24 cadets, aged 10-18, on parade. One of the youngest was Amy Wells, ten, who has been a cadet for six months. “I want to be a Royal Marine,” she said. “One of my first courses here saw me learn how to row, sail and paddle a one-man kayak. In the winter, I will be learning about tying knots.”
Local Acting Lead Cadet Robert Henke, 17, escorted Cdr Price around the inspection. He said: “I’m responsible for the day to day running of the unit. It’s a lot of responsibility but I enjoy it. It’s the prestige of the rank and I help the new cadets and tell them the basic things about the unit.”