Johanna Rohan, Chair of Canterbury Sea Cadets, recently received a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for services to young people in Kent. We caught up with her to find out what she thinks of it all…
It is a great honour and was a surprise to be recognised for the voluntary work that I have been doing with Canterbury Sea Cadets, of which I have been involved with for just over 15 years! It needs to be said that of course there are many other people who have been on this journey with me, whom, without their encouragement to carry on fundraising, I would have become very disheartened.
My two boys joined Canterbury Sea Cadets and both stayed until they were 16, our unit was a very cold tumbled down building which in the time that we were there became quite a dangerous place and not fit for purpose. So, the brief was to find money and a site to build a new unit. As Canterbury Sea Cadets have been around for over 50 years we knew it was worth saving!
I would like to add, as a parent of former cadets, just how important the Sea Cadets were in their lives, when we all went through a very rocky three years in our personal lives, Sea Cadets was the one thing that was a routine, every Tuesday and Thursday was cadet night and they couldn't wait to get there.
I was very grateful to the staff who ran the cadets and the dedication that they showed. Without staff, there would have been no unit nights. By joining the committee, it was my way to say thank you. I just didn't realise I was going to stay so long!!
It took more than three years to get everything together and we now have a great new building adjacent to the River Stour. It meant long evenings writing and rewriting application forms and visiting businesses to ask for help, it was fantastic to see the building rise from the ground and even better now to see cadets in it and boats outside of it!
Onward we go, raising funds to complete the second floor, a container and a mini-bus!! THE JOURNEY NEVER ENDS!!
Thanks to Johanna for all of her hard work over the years, and congratulations on her well-deserved BEM!