Record breakers

We celebrated the Coronation with a national piping challenge to mark the beginning of a summer of activities to promote volunteering

The launch of The Big Help Out on 8 May proved to be a fantastic way for Sea Cadets to encourage volunteering. As the royal family’s chosen theme for the special Coronation Bank Holiday, The Big Help Out was also the perfect opportunity to celebrate our new King and Queen!

In true Sea Cadets style, we launched the campaign with a national challenge for everyone to join in playing the ‘Call the Hands’ at the same time. In Greenwich, enough cadets took part for it to set a new Guinness World Record! 

More than 300 cadets and volunteers assembled on the lawns of the National Maritime Museum to
take part in the world’s biggest-ever ship’s whistle lesson, culminating in the traditional verbal ‘call to action’ which, on this very special occasion, became a call out to the nation to try volunteering: “Heave Ho, Heave Ho, Lash Up and Stow, All Hands Turn Out!” A unique – and incredibly loud – performance perfectly captured the spirit of The Big Help Out, with the cadets being well prepared thanks to the dedication of our wonderful volunteers.

Joined by our fantastic volunteers, Captain Sea Cadets, Captain Neil Downing proudly holds the Guinness World Record certificate

And, as part of a Sea Cadets national challenge, the ‘special call’ was simultaneously replicated by hundreds more cadets and dozens of units around the UK – including at The King’s winter residence, Sandringham House, where Suffolk & Norfolk District were invited to pipe, and our Bristol Unit’s performance at Brunel’s iconic SS Great Britain. You can see more highlights from the day here.

West Kent District at Chatham Historic Dockyard

A huge BZ to everyone who helped to organise the record-breaking event – a triumph of passionate volunteering and cadet enthusiasm that will raise awareness of Sea Cadets on a global stage. 

And well done to the units who are embracing The Big Help Out campaign this summer by reaching out to potential volunteers in their communities, whether parents, supporters or the general public.

Thumbs up for breaking the world record!

Here are some of the other ways you got involved… 

Conwy County Sea Cadets showcased volunteering opportunities and put on a display of drill and semaphore, while Harrogate Unit’s helpers got their boats gleaming in the rain.

Junior cadets at Conwy Unit

Thirty volunteer heroes turned up to clear rubbish, cut hedges and paint walls at Felixstowe Unit, while 45 more were enlisted by Southampton Unit for a spring clean of their HQ.  

Cadets from Southampton Unit

Clean-ups extended to the wider community, too – including at Workington Unit where cadets and volunteers blitzed the litter from surrounding streets and quayside.

Fraserburgh Unit

Fraserburgh Unit helped out their local environment with a beach clean at Sandhaven Harbour, while Keighley Unit collected nine bags of rubbish from their section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 

Keighley Unit

Worcester Unit was delighted to gain three new volunteers from The Big Help Out after opening up the boating station to family, friends and supporters – and raising over £100 in the process.

Worcester Unit

Croydon Unit also took the chance to welcome local people for an open day, where potential volunteers learned what was involved in running activities and supporting cadets. 

Cadets from Suffolk and Norfolk units

It was fitting that The Big Help Out coincided with three Sea Cadets volunteers being chosen by HM Queen Camilla as Coronation Champions, in recognition of their extraordinary volunteering efforts. BZ to our incredible recipients, Jeremy Williams, unit chair of Rhondda Sea Cadets, Sub Lieutenant Marlene Rhodes of Rickmansworth & Watford Unit, and Ballymena Sea Cadets chair Ruth Verner, who were among just 500 people nationwide to receive a medal and a certificate signed by The King and Queen.

Thanks to The Big Help Out, and the enthusiasm of so many units across the country, Sea Cadets has become a brilliant new volunteering option for hundreds of people who could be the volunteer heroes of the future!  

Photos: Sea Cadets, Nathaniel Rosa

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