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Dreams closer to becoming reality for Beccles Sea Cadets

PUBLISHED: 06:31 06 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 February 2017

Spades in hand as the Beccles Sea Cadets celebrate their new building work beginning within days. Commanding officer Joe Meadows, centre with some of the cadets. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Spades in hand as the Beccles Sea Cadets celebrate their new building work beginning within days. Commanding officer Joe Meadows, centre with some of the cadets. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

It has taken years of hard work and efforts, but dreams are closer to reality for Beccles Sea Cadets.

Jason Taylor, chairman of the Beccles Sea Cadets, speaks at the ceremony at the site of their new building, as they celebrate the work beginning within days. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJason Taylor, chairman of the Beccles Sea Cadets, speaks at the ceremony at the site of their new building, as they celebrate the work beginning within days. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Having embarked upon a major fundraising drive seven years ago for a new unit headquarters, work started today on the construction of their new building.

The new base in Fen Lane – just along from their current TS Brave headquarters next to the River Waveney – will mean that the youngsters can use the facilities in the summer and winter.

Beccles Sea Cadets at the ceremony at the site of their new building, as they celebrate the work beginning within days. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBeccles Sea Cadets at the ceremony at the site of their new building, as they celebrate the work beginning within days. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The work will see the new building becoming a main, fit-for-purpose base featuring classrooms, offices, a climbing wall, toilets and shower facilities, while th existing site for Beccles Sea Cadets – which is part of the UK’s oldest nautical youth charity – will become the boating station.

After raising £230,000 to “get to where we are today,” according to Commanding Officer Lt Cdr Joe Meadows, the next phase is to raise a further £150,000 to equip the new headquarters.

Lt Commander Joe Meadows of the Beccles Sea Cadets, celebrates at the ceremony at the site of their new building, as the work begins within days. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLt Commander Joe Meadows of the Beccles Sea Cadets, celebrates at the ceremony at the site of their new building, as the work begins within days. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lt Cdr Meadows said: “The new HQ is going to be like a breath of fresh air. It has taken seven long years to get to this point. Tobuild a new HQ on a site where we currently have no toilet facilities or no winter training facilities – just wooden sheds – this will give the local community a place where young people can earn new qualifications, become team leaders, gain confidence at the same time as gaining life long skills.

“With this new HQ we will be able to offer more young people the chance to gain, not only sporting qualifications in relation to waterbourne activities, but skills that they will be able to take on to future employment - such as BTEC and Duke of Edinburgh.”

Ahead of the work starting, a celebration event was held on Saturday to unveil the site and mark a new era for the popular independent charity.

The launch event, which also aimed to raise awareness of the project and the ongoing appeal, was attended by various sponsors, supporters, special guests, former cadets and family members.

■ To donate to the Beccles Sea Cadets appeal, visit their website www.sea-cadets.org/beccles/fundraising.aspx

WHAT THEY SAID

There was a real celebratory feel around Saturday’s launch event, which marked the commencement of the long awaited new build and provided a real boost to the town and community. The unveiling was followed by a barbecue and drinks reception, which was kindly sponsored by Ovamill Ltd as the main contractor for the project.

TS Brave chairman Jason Taylor said: “A new HQ for Beccles Sea Cadets has been talked about since January 2010, when we launched project one. We are now on project number five, but you can see by improving the area it gives us much-needed facilities. The new HQ will also be available for the community to use for the benefit of all.”

It is hoped the building will be up by July.

Lt Cdr Meadows, who lives in Lowestoft, added: “We are here - after seven long years. There were some who thought we would not ever get to where we are – but we are here.

“The young people in this unit they have achieved remarkable things in those seven years. I am extremely proud to be your commanding officer over the last seven years - it has truly been an honour.”

ABOUT BECCLES SEA CADETS

“We are a lot bigger organisation than we once were.”

The sentiments of chairman Jason Taylor, who highlighted how the unit had originally been just for boys aged 12 upwards. Today, they cater for boys and girls aged 10 upwards and also Royal Marines Cadets.

Beccles Sea and Royal Marines Cadets will be re-recruiting in May. Offering many activities including powerboating, Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, rowing, BTEC in Public Services, sailing, first aid, canoeing and much more, the organisation has now started a waiting list for anyone wishing to join.

The next intake will be the week beginning May 15, 2017.

The unit currently opens on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9.15pm.

If you are aged between 10 and 17 and are interested in joining, or even aged 18+ and would maybe like to join as an adult volunteer, you can email becclesseacadets@hotmail.com or call 01502 711858.

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