Gosport Sea Cadets hold turf cutting ceremony for new boating station at Fort Blockhouse site

THE construction of a new boating station and facilities for a group of sea cadets is set to get underway after a turf cutting ceremony.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 5:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 1:33 pm
Sea Cadets show their appreciation. Cutting the turf for a new Sea Cadets boat station at Fort Blockhouse 3, Gosport. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (010220-01)

Gosport Sea Cadets at TS Hornet gathered with friends and family at Fort Blockhouse 3 in Haslar Road on Saturday.

They celebrated to mark the site as their new base after the group was moved out of their old boating station in Royal Clarence Yard.

It was sold by the Ministry of Defence for redevelopment.

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Senior Defence Infrastructure Organisation civil servant Rachael Asquith cutting the turf for a new Sea Cadets boat station at Fort Blockhouse 3, Gosport, with left Caroline Dinenage Gosport MP. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (010220-02)

But the MOD has given the group a grant of £400,000 to build new facilities, including a large boat stowage building, a workshop and a purpose-built block with classroom, shower and changing facilities under a 25-year site lease.

Oscar Wood, 16, has been a member for six years and is excited for the future.

He said: ‘It is an amazing opportunity and everyone is really buzzing to get a new boating station.

‘It will mean we can access the water quicker and easier.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage joined Rachael Asquith from the MOD to put the first spade in the ground.

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Cadet Isla Hadley, 17, said: ‘It is so exciting because it means we can use boats we haven’t been able to use before.

‘We can just get more time out on the water and learn more skills.’

Chairman of Gosport Sea Cadets Gavin Pritchard said: ‘Our cadets learn so much in their time and get to use a variety of different boats as well as building leadership and team skills.

‘A lot of people have worked very hard to make our new boating station a reality and in a few months time we will be able to come back here for good.’

The group is run by volunteers.

There will be paddle boats, rowing boats, dinghies and small power boats for the group to use.

Gavin added: ‘It will really be amazing for our cadets and it means other cadets can come and use our facilities as well.’

Gosport borough councillor John Beavis, who is a cadet trustee, added: ‘A new boating station will mean so much to everyone and is so important for our young people for now and years to come thanks to the 25 year lease.’