LIFESTYLE FEATURE FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 11.
SAILING, cooking and making ropes. They are all skills on offer at Hartlepool Sea Cadets.
The man leading the call for more people to join their ranks is Sub Lieutenant Stephen Harvey.
He is celebrating 25-years service with the organisation.
Richard Mennear caught up with him.
STEPHEN Harvey is passionate about giving youth a chance to develop.
The full-time locksmith is also a part-time Sub Lieutenant who heads up a team of dedicated volunteers at Hartlepool Sea Cadets.
That’s where he takes charge of 45 cadets and 15-adult volunteers.
It’s always been his ambition to become commanding officer in Hartlepool and organises a range of competitions for the cadets he supervises.
It includes rowing, sailing, power boating, shooting, football and kayaking as well as specialist fields like cooking, mechanical engineering and rope work.
Although it is based on the traditions of the Royal Navy, the self-funded Sea Cadet Corps is not a recruiting mechanism for the Armed Forces.
Sub Lt Harvey, who is married to Sara, 37, said: “I have been in the Sea Cadet Corps since I was 12, I am now 37 and have been through all the cadet ranks as well as the staff rates to become an officer in the sea cadets.
“It was always my ambition to be in charge at Hartlepool and I am extremely proud to be commanding officer.
“I am responsible for the overall well-being and safe training of all the units members, from cadets to staff,” added the business partner in Steron Locksmiths.
The Hartlepool Sea Cadets meet every Monday and Thursday between 6.30pm and 9.30pm, at Middleton House, in Harbour Walk at Hartlepool Marina.
The unit is part of the UK Sea Cadet Corps, a nationwide voluntary uniformed youth organisation, which is open to boys and girls aged 12 to 18.
Hartlepool has a Junior Section open to those between 10 to 12, the Sea Cadets for those aged 12 to 18, and it is one of the few units to have a Royal Marines Cadet Detachment, open to anyone over 13.
The unit was formed in October, 1938 with its original name, TS Jarvis taken from its affiliated ship HMS Jarvis.
In 1970, the unit was given a new affiliated ship, HMS Abdiel, and in 1971 it changed its name to TS Abdiel.
In 1989 the HMS Abdiel was de-commissioned but the unit used the name until 1999, when it was given the new name TS Trincomalee based on its affiliation with the HMS Trincomalee, which is docked at Hartlepool Marina.
Cadets also take part in Remembrance Sunday parades and the Tall Ships Races, which was held in town last August.
Sub Lt Harvey, who was born and raised in Hartlepool but now lives in the Low Grange area of Billingham, added: “We also have extremely close links with HMS Trincomalee where we can sometimes be seen doing gun drills, as well as welcoming aboard VIPs such as Prince Phillip.
“Our cadets have also been lucky enough to be involved with going to the garden party at Buckingham Palace, help launch new ships and attend the national Trafalgar Day celebration in London.”
Sub Lt Harvey added: “When you first enter you go into the recruit class where they learn all the basics of what it means to be a cadet.
“After a minimum of six weeks, the recruit then has to take an assessment and they then get their uniform, which is free of charge.
“Although there are certain qualifications required to move up through the rank structure, there is enough choice for the cadet to choose how and when to progress.”
Unlike the Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets, the junior section uniform is not supported by the Ministry of Defence, so there is a 60p per night donation towards the cost.
Sub Lt Harvey, who has been commanding officer for eight years, added: “We are proud to be one of the strongest units in the northern area with over 60 members.
“We have recently received our proficiency award of a Burgee, which means we are in the top 25 per cent of units in the country.
“This is our sixth in a row, the most in the units history, which goes to show what excellent work the whole team puts in.”
All of the volunteer instructors must be qualified and have full criminal record bureau checks.
Sub Lt Harvey said: “We are always looking for new members and adult volunteers, with specific skills such as a band master who must be able to read and teach music and someone with the appropriate canoeing and sailing qualifications.
“We are also always looking for any keen enthusiastic individual that is looking for a unique challenge to join our dedicated and experienced team.”
Hartlepool Sea Cadets is a registered charity and its AGM will take place on Monday, May 16, at 7pm at the Middleton House headquarters.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
For more information call (01429) 272284 on Mondays and Thursdays between 6.30pm and 9.30pm.