SOS plea to keep unit afloat

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WISBECH Sea Cadets has fired an SOS for help to keep the struggling unit going.

TS Falcon, otherwise known as the Sea Cadets, could be forced to close if it can’t find the necessary £5,000 a year to keep it afloat and encourage help from new volunteers.

The unit, which is based at Sandyland, relies on fundraising and is currently “hanging on by the skin of its teeth”.

Peter Harvey, chairman of the unit for the past six years, explained unlike the Army and RAF cadet organisations, which have some funding from the military and the Ministry of Defence, the Sea Cadets are not supported to the same extent by the Royal Navy and have to raise their own finance.

The unit, which provides twice weekly training to as many as 30 young people between the ages of 10 and 18, is another victim of the ever more difficult hunt for money and volunteers.

As well as boating and seamanship training, the cadets gain much from membership to the unit. They gain a sense of discipline, self reliance and the confidence which stems from having their horizons broadened.

Leadership skills are also an important part of the experience which can stand the young people in good stead later in life.

Mr Harvey said these qualities are of great value not only to the young people themselves but to the community at large.

But, unless the cadets can find a way of ensuring their financial future, without any help from the navy, these benefits are under threat and closure cannot be ruled out.

Said Mr Harvey: “We have considered many options. It would be more than just a shame if the unit had to close. The young people it serves gain so much from the naval community that is their unit because it functions just like a ship and they are its crew, all pulling together.

“We are hanging on by the skin of our teeth but as well as financial security, we need new blood on the management committee to seek out new sources of support.

“I would welcome approaches from anyone; individual or corporate who thinks they can help keep this great community service alive.”

If you can help the unit either with fundraising or volunteering, contact Mr Harvey on 07775 507419 or via email at: marine@pdh.co.uk