A NAVAL recruit set to start his career in Gosport gave a fellow trainee the surprise of a lifetime when he paid for his mum to attend his passing-out parade – flying her over from the Caribbean.
Cameron Hawes, 20, used his savings to get Althea Crosby to the event celebrating the end of her son Quaci’s basic training, at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall on Friday.
The outstanding gesture saw Cameron, who will now go to HMS Sultan, pay to fly Althea 7,000 miles from Trinidad before his mum, Sarah, paid for her transport to Plymouth and her accommodation.
Quaci, 26, was then stunned when his mum walked on stage to present him with his Royal Navy epaulettes, marking his promotion from recruit to able seaman.
‘I have no words to explain how grateful I am to Cameron for what he has done for me today,' he said.
‘It was very important to have my mum here because joining the Royal Navy was one of my dreams.
‘Seeing that she is here to share it with me is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.’
Cameron put wheels in motion weeks into basic training, when he learned Quaci could not afford to get his mum to the parade.
The effort was then funded by money he saved when he worked at a sports centre before joining the navy, as well as £500 chipped in by fellow trainees.
‘I phoned my mum and said I wanted to do something,' Cameron said.
‘Everyone in our training class is close, but Crosby and I have been best friends from the start really.
‘We share the same opinions on most things and he’s always had my back.
‘I’ve found training really stressful, but he’s been really supportive.’
Althea said she was ‘excited and nervous all at once’ for the reunion.
‘[Quaci] had been trying to Facetime me and I had to decline the call to keep it all a big secret,' she said.
‘It was thrilling and wonderful. It was great to be here and see all of the recruits. I am so proud.’
Cameron was commended by HMS Raleigh’s Commanding Officer, Captain Rich Harris, for the gesture.
Quaci will remain at HMS Raleigh, but the pair have vowed to stay in touch.