Waterlooville cadet boss Tony retires after 41 years of serviceÂ

A COMMANDING officer who has dedicated the past four decades to preparing young cadets for later life has retired.Â

Thursday, 16th August 2018, 4:23 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:07 pm
Tony Crisp. Picture: Habibur Rahman

After 41 years of service Tony Crisp has stepped down from his role at Training Ship Active (TSA) in Waterlooville. 

His voluntary post at the maritime training corps unit has seen him work with generations of cadets between the ages of six and 18 '“ keeping them off the streets, teaching them about the virtue of discipline and guiding them into adolescence. 

And in a touching gesture of thanks, cadets past and present joined Mr Crisp, now 71, for a ceremony to mark his retirement last week at St George's Church Hall. 

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Tony Crisp. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said the occasion '˜meant a lot to him'. 

'˜It was a fantastic evening. They even put a guard up for inspection when I arrived,' he said.

'˜This unit has trained some amazing people '“ not just for the Royal Navy, but for life '“ and it has been a real privilege to play a part in that. 

'˜To see cadets come back and say hello on the night was wonderful and I've promised that won't be the last they see of me.' 

Tony Crisp carrying out an inspection at the ceremony. Picture: Habibur Rahman

When he joined ATS Mr Crisp, who has served in the Royal Navy, first got involved with its band '“ before taking up the role of commanding officer around 1991. 

Now a senior officer, he has maintained he will remain close to the self-funded unit in some capacity, and will still lead its band '“ but has taken the choice to retire his official duties because of illness. 

Battling recent diagnoses of kidney cancer and anorexia, he said: '˜I am fighting this '“ and I hope I'm winning '“ but I have a heart problem and a pacemaker too so I can't be operated on. 

'˜Regardless, I thought it was best to take it easy, just popping in and helping where I can.' 

Tony Crisp

Full of praise for the work he has done, many connected with ATS rallied to offer Tony their thanks as news of his retirement surfaced. 

Iain Triggs, 52,  from Horndean, met Tony when his son Kieran, who has Asperger's, joined the unit in 2006. 

He said: '˜Before Kieran joined, there were various things we tried to get him involved in '“ but sadly it was as if no one would take him. 

'˜But thanks to Tony and the cadets, joining ATS essentially gave him a sense of belonging for the very first time.

'˜Tony has done a fantastic job for so many years so he will be missed in the role, but I'm glad to hear we'll still be seeing him now and again.' 

Duncan Warwood, now a watch manager at Littlehampton Fire Station, spent 10  years under Tony's supervision. 

The 46-year-old said: '˜Tony taught me how to bugle and play  The Last Post  '“ which is a poignant song I continue to play for the fire service now. 

'˜But beside that, the discipline I learned through Tony and the unit has been vital to growing up. 

'˜I lost my dad when I was seven, so I could've easily gone the other way, but the cadets kept me on the straight and narrow and I wouldn't be in this position without them.'