MARITIME training corps bosses have realised the long-held dream of their late commanding officer by opening his former unit’s first permanent base.
For years Tony Crisp hoped to give cadets at Training Ship Active MTC in Waterlooville a permanent place to call home.
Now they finally have one – after a commissioning ceremony on Saturday marked the opening of the unit’s new facility, in Hurstville Drive.
The site has an indoor parade hall, outdoor training space, a classroom, a kitchen and toilets for cadets to use.
Lieutenant Iain Triggs from Horndean, who met Cdr Crisp when his son Kieran joined the unit in 2006, said: ‘It meant a lot to everyone because Tony was wanting to get this open while he was around – he was instrumental in it happening.
‘I know he would've been really proud to see Saturday’s event, the unit and the work that has gone into getting it ready.’
He added: ‘The weather was amazing too. In a way it felt like Tony was looking down on us.’
The unit formerly belonged to the St John Ambulance and was taken over by TS Active MTC about three years ago.
As it was unveiled on Saturday, following renovation, cadets and unit leaders also got to enjoy a drumhead service and a barbecue to celebrate.
Official photographer Tracy Goddard has two children in the unit, 11 and 14, and was there to capture the action.
‘Tony would have been over the moon to see the unit and what we've done to the place,’ the 40-year-old said.
‘He was determined to get this open rather than us continuing to lease a hall somewhere.'
TS Active MTC formerly held weekly training at St George's Church Hall in Waterlooville.
The unit, which trains youngsters for the Royal Navy and later life, is now looking for new recruits aged eight and over.
To sign up go to tsactivemtc.org.uk or email email@example.com