Mark My Mighty Marathon

Amazing Mighty Marathoner Mark's story

3 weeks in and I have doubled the marathon distance plus some, crossing the 54miles mark in the Gym today!  I've also passed my personal fundraising target which was £10 per mile (£260) this week!! (Support Mark on his JustGiving page!)

Why did I decide to take on the challenge?  I have been conscious for a while now that I was putting on more and more weight and needing to get more active, In my day job I work 12hour shifts in Ambulance control and often getting in late in the evening (or Morning) dinner would be whatever was convenient, as opposed to healthy, and more often than no it would be what was delivered! As the District training Officer for London Western District I have regular interactions with almost 400 Cadets plus volunteers and I realised that it was time to start setting more of an example to them and to my own 4 year old son!

I started the Mighty Marathon Challenge on New Year’s Day, weighing in at 143.7kg/22st 9lb and 146cm around the middle, so far this month I have lost 6cm around the waist and have lost almost a stone and a half! Day one saw me taking my son for a walk to (and around) the park clocking up my first mile felt amazing!  I have built on this by visiting the Gym almost every day this month using a combination of static cycles and treadmill. I have also been using my 20 minute breaks at work to walk a mile at a time around the Waterloo area both in the middle of the day and during the night, Central London is surprisingly quiet at 4am. 

I haven't been alone in undertaking the challenge and have been supported by family, colleagues and friends as well as other volunteers: Cathal Hegarty from Richmond unit and Jessica Burton from Tooting unit, as group we all completed 26miles early into the challenge so set ourselves the goal to double it and today that happened (captured in the pic!) Thank you to all that have motivated, supported, donated and cheered me on I could not have done this without them.

“When you are tired, hurting, out of breath and struggling, dig deep find the courage and self-discipline to power through and little by little things get easier- and remember to stay hydrated!”

The My Mighty Marathon challenge ends in 2 days! Give them a boost and show support on JustGiving

qualifications for teenagers sailing duke of Edinburgh outdoors

Start your Story in 2020

As we start the new year, you may be wondering what new horizons 2020 has is in store for you...

Why not have a think about some qualifications you could gain with the Sea Cadets? As well as many different boating qualifications, for example, the Royal Yachting Association and the British Canoeing Union. There are lots of personal development courses you can undertake too, all of which are great fun to be involved with, and will look amazing on your CV. The below list will give you a quick insight into the range of courses you can do and what they are about:

Open Award Level 1, Exploring Maritime Skills. This course gives you a chance to develop a broad experience in vessel navigation, food preparation, mooring, vessel stability and vessel construction.

Institute of Leadership Management Level 2, Award in Effective Team Member Skills. This is a course that will help you understand what a team is, how it develops, the importance of communication and how to manage conflict within a team. (This course is open to those age 14+)

Institute of Leadership Management Level 3, Award in Leadership and Management. If you go on this course, you will study topics including problem-solving, decision making, presentation skills, leadership and team motivation. (This course is open to those age 16-18)

Duke of Edinburgh – Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. Achieving a Duke of Edinburgh award gives you a chance to develop new skills by planning, training for and completing expeditions, working as a team, helping the community/environment and meet new people.

BTEC Level 1, Teamwork and Personal Skills in the Community. Use this course to build your volunteering, map, compass and music skills. The course will cover self-reliance in a fieldcraft environment and how to prepare for expeditions. (This course is open to those age 13-15)

BTEC Level 2, Teamwork and Personal Skills in the Community. This course will give you a chance to partake in adventurous activities, have a go at career planning, explore teamwork and communication skills and further improve your map and compass skills. (This course is open to those age 16-18)

If you’re with Sea Cadets already, or thinking about joining, there are over 600 qualifications you can choose from.

Speak to your C/O for info about doing a course. Or click here to join a unit near you and start your story

Author - Flora Stewart-Sandeman, Head of Sea Cadet Learning Development.

Claire sea cadets alumni southern area

Claire's story, LegaSea Southern area

How my time spent as a Sea Cadet has shaped my career leading a large team. Read Claire’s story.

Claire was a member of TS Queen Charlotte, Guildford Sea Cadets. As a cadet Claire achieved national success in kayaking and demonstrated a high degree of commitment and determination to pursuing the sport. She won seven national gold medals in total.

In life since, Claire has shown that same determination and commitment in her pursuit of professional development. Sea Cadets was instrumental to Claire starting her career in PR. At the time when she applied for the first job, she was down to the final two candidates and the other individual had a degree in PR. However, it was Claire who was successful in getting the job. The employers acknowledged her skills and experience as a cadet made her the more favourable candidate.

At interview Claire was asked to do a presentation on a topic of her choice and she spoke about the Sea Cadets which landed her the job. She was able to demonstrate transferrable skills through her activities supporting younger cadets and her voluntary charitable work through the cadets.

Claire continues to work in PR and now manages a large team of people in her work. She can still see the benefit of Sea Cadets in her daily professional life. Her ability to lead, take control and even project her voice were all developed during her time as a cadet on the parade ground. Claire can see how Sea Cadets gave her the practical communication skills that she uses every day to manage her team and get the job done. It’s amazing to hear her time as a PO cadet still influences her every day work.

Martin sea cadets alumni legasea

Martin's story, LegaSea South-West area

Martin’s early years at Sea Cadets set him up with an international seafaring career, now he gives back whenever he can.

There are many mariners and seafarers who used to be in the Sea Cadets and there are countless inspirational stories. One that caught our eye is Martin’s story. He’s a young man from Wales who has been in seafaring work almost all his professional life. Even though he is only in his early 30s he’s had impressive career opportunities open up from the seamanship skills he learnt as a cadet.

Martin was a cadet at both Rugby and Fishguard Sea Cadets. He was an active cadet and continued on as an adult officer for a number of years. Becoming really well rounded in all the different skills that cadets offers.

These skills enabled Martin to get his first job teaching watersports, a skill he learnt as a cadet and instructor. After that he went on to have diverse range of seafaring jobs. He worked for the Environment Agency on a coastal survey boat gaining the rank of relief master. Crewed a 3,000 tonne superyacht around the Mediterranean. Worked on search and rescue operations in disaster zones. He has even been a commercial diver, helping to shoot a film working on a film set in China.

Martin now works as a commercial master on the boats for an offshore windfarm and continues to use the skills he first learnt as a cadet.

In his spare time, Martin is a longstanding volunteer with the RNLI. He joined as soon as he was old enough and continues to support their work whenever he is back on shore.

As well as the wide range of experiences professionally that were opened up by the Sea Cadets, the influence of the cadets is also evident in his personal character. Someone like Martin represents the generosity of spirit and commitment to others that runs through so many of the Sea Cadets staff, volunteers and cadets. There is an enthusiasm for doing your bit and helping others, in particular to this case, to stay safe at sea.

Linda legasea tottenham sea cadets

Linda's story, LegaSea London area

An adventure she could have never had in Tottenham, read Linda’s story 

The Girls Nautical Training Corps (GNTC) was invaluable for Linda, a young woman growing up as a Tottenham ‘latchkey kid’. Her experiences as a cadet at TS Wizard meant that she had access to opportunities that her social circumstances would have never ordinarily have allowed.

In particular, Linda reflects on the inspirational role of the women who led the GNTC. She recalls hiking and being in the countryside and taking on adventures that took her out of the city environment and exposed her to a whole other world of possibilities.

One key influence of the cadets on Linda’s life was learning to play the drums as part of the cadet band. This was a skill she continued in adult life and enable her to travel to many new places. Linda went on to become a professional drummer and toured Europe playing music.

Later in life Linda went on to become a civil servant working in local government, in particular, in health and safety. At the time, this remained a male dominated profession and she was a pioneering woman to be present in that role. Looking back, Linda can see how her experiences in the GNTC gave her confidence and the ability to stand up for herself and take the lead even in situations, even when stacked against her.

Now, Linda works in conservation and nature management for a national park and area of natural beauty. She uses her water skills from cadets as she kayaks around the waterways overseeing the wildlife. Rekindling her love of nature and the outdoors, first discovered in the GNTC as a teenager.

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