Autumn 2021 news

The biggest news stories from Sea Cadets across the country

Photo of a group of young people launching a boat
Young people take part in the On the Water project in Birmingham

On The Water gets a big thumbs up!

Our community outreach programme welcomed 1,378 young people to have fun on the water
while learning new skills and making new friends.

“Marvellous”, “amazing”, “awesome”, “exciting” and “lots of fun”. This is some of the feedback from the children and young people who took part in our On The Water programme held over the summer months. The programme is run by Sea Cadets to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to experience the thrill of water-based adventures that they wouldn’t normally have access to. 

1,378 young people aged 9–14 took part in this year’s programme, which for the first time was held across three locations:  Merseyside, Birmingham and London.

Young people in Birmingham learn boating
Young people learn boating skills

With the help of our qualified instructors, the young participants tried out paddling, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and more. All achieved a qualification, with over 40 young people gaining a BCA (British Canoeing Awarding Body) Paddle Discover Award and almost 50 being awarded the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Stage 1 qualification. 

“We have been able to build brilliant relationships with local mosques and small community centres who referred young refugees, youth groups who specialise in crime prevention and a network of parents with autistic children to attend,” says On The Water Coordinator Hugo Dell. “We will continue working with them in the future so that we can give more young people a chance to try something new, boost their confidence, learn new skills and make friends.”


As well as a new Captain Sea Cadets, we also have some other notable people joining the crew. 

Our new Admiral 

Princess Royal salutes at the launching of TS Royalist
HRH the Princess Royal, after whom the ship was named, attended the official naming ceremony of TS Royalist in 2015

This summer we were pleased to announce that HRH The Princess Royal has taken on the prestigious role of Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps – the first time a woman has held this position. We are working together with our new Admiral and her team to schedule events for 2022. In the meantime, HRH The Princess Royal has said she wants to keep as up to date as possible with all things Sea Cadets. 

The role of Admiral of the Sea Cadets dates back to 1942, when King George VI took on the position and held it for 10 years. We are immensely proud of our close connection and interactions with the royal family and look forward to many years with our new Admiral at the helm.

Our new President

MSSC's new president Philip Jones in his Royal Navy uniform
MSSC President, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, GCB ADC D

As we bid farewell to the President of Marine Society & Sea Cadets, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, we welcome our new President, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, GCB ADC DL. 

Having joined the Royal Navy in 1980, Admiral Sir Philip saw active service in the Falklands. He was made Commanding Officer of the frigate HMS Beaver in 1997, promoted to Captain in 1999, then Commodore in 2004. He was appointed ‘Aide-de-camp’ to HM The Queen in 2006, promoted to Rear Admiral in 2008, and after several other promotions he became First Sea Lord in 2016. In the 2020 new years honours, our new President was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) – an honour limited to only 120 individuals at any one time.

Following such a distinguished career, we were very proud to welcome Admiral Sir Phillip to MSSC at our Annual Court on 6 October.

Looking after your mental health

A volunteer has made a special effort to support cadets’ mental health
PSgt Stuart Hurlston has made a special effort to support cadets’ mental health

Cadets were reminded of the importance of protecting their mental health recently, at an event organised by an RMC Detachment Commander who is highlighting this issue.

PSgt Stuart Hurlston, Detachment Commander of Altrincham & Sale Royal Marine Cadets, has been working hard during the pandemic to support the wellbeing and mental health of cadets. 

Recognising that the various lockdown restrictions were a challenging time, with many struggling with mental health issues, he took steps to help. 

“At a time young people have most needed professional and informal support, it is least available,” says PSgt Hurlston. “So I made the proactive decision to complete a number of courses including: Psychological First Aid, Covid-19 Awareness and Promoting Resilience. This enabled me to be better equipped and more capable of establishing better communication and foster a more positive outlook among cadets.” 

PSgt Hurlston continued to explore ways to engage his cadets. To mark Youth Mental Health Day on 7 September, he contacted a Royal Marine Commando veteran, triple amputee and motivational speaker Sir Mark Ormrod MBE, who was happy to record a personalised video for Altrincham Unit. 

The cadets were totally blown away by Sir Mark’s message about mental health. In addition, PSgt Hurlston has developed and delivered ‘Positive Outlook Training’ and within the detachment he is already starting to recognise the benefits and improvements it has made to individual cadets. 

Thank you to all our volunteers who give their time to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people. 

Cadets get active

Photo of a cadet wearing a face mask on a boat
Cadets taking part in a Holiday Active session

Over the summer holidays, a massive 2,182 cadets took part in the 5,400 Holiday Active sessions that we delivered. They experienced a wide range of activities and adventure training, and took home badges and new qualifications.

Meanwhile, the offshore Taster Days programme saw the Sea Cadets fleet navigate the British Isles with cadets on board as crew. The ships voyaged from the south of the UK to Northern Ireland and some of the furthest reaches of Scotland. The Taster Days onboard T.S. Royalist, T.S. Jack Petchey and T.S. John Jerwood are free for cadets; 1,493 cadets went on a Taster Day, along with 330 volunteers. 

Juniors kept busy with Virtual Summer Camp 

Ongoing restrictions due to Covid-19 might have stopped their summer camp taking place in person, but junior sea cadets still enjoyed a week-long virtual camp full of activities.

From 9–13 August juniors could take part in two Zoom sessions a day, to help them catch up on modules they may have missed out on due to lockdown and to have some fun during the school holidays. The activities were a mixture of new modules and existing ones, covering all sections of the junior programme. There were modules uploaded to Facebook for juniors who could not attend. 

Juniors took part in virtual morning colours and morning Physical Training sessions. And, via a live Facebook call, there was a chance to ask any question they liked of Sea Cadets CEO Martin Coles and Captain Sea Cadets Captain Phil Russell, before his departure. The cadets found out that the CEO is a Junior Instructor and loves Marmite, and that our former captain has been on just about every boat you can imagine, from a single Special Forces canoe to a 65,000-tonne battleship. 

“I really loved doing Virtual Junior Summer Camp again this year! It’s really fun and a way to gain modules, meet other juniors, and be taught by different instructors from around the country.” 

Leading Junior Cadet Felix, Burton on Trent Unit

Units also had a chance to win entry to an activity centre in an ongoing competition – they just had to take pictures of their juniors’ mascot, Captain Stuart, in interesting places.  

Big thanks to the junior sea cadets who joined in and a special thanks to the Junior Instructors who ran all the activities. More than 300 juniors took part in the sessions and many more through Facebook. 

You can still visit the page and look back at the week, or do any of the modules on there. Just visit the Junior Sea Cadets page.

“I had lots of fun. There were lots of different activities to do and I learnt new things. My favourite activity was building a geodome.” 

Junior Cadet James, Portsmouth Unit

Challenge yourself! 

Photo of Graham after finishing the London marathon
Graham is one of the team who ran the London Marathon for Sea Cadets

Congratulations and huge thanks to our four runners who took part in the Virgin Money London Marathon in October. Months of training resulted in some impressive finishing times and they raised an amazing £6,000 for Sea Cadets!

Interested in taking on a challenge for Sea Cadets? Get involved here.

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