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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.

Oliver Rio Olympic rowing team GB Champion

Oliver's Story, LegaSea Eastern area

From Sea Cadets to Rio 2016 Olympics Gold, Oliver’s journey.

Oliver from the small town of Stevenage, first started rowing in Sea Cadets, not soon after leaving, the young man went on to win a rowing gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Team GB.

Oliver couldn’t have imaged the journey ahead of him when he first picked up oars as a teenager - a love of rowing was born. He had a committed and inspirational instructor who nurtured his interest and ability. Rowing became Oliver’s primary focus and motivation during his time as a cadet.

After cadets, Oliver went on to be a committed member of his university rowing team. When he came to the end of his studies he had the opportunity to spend a year pursuing elite level rowing. This then led to him being part of the training and development programme leading up to Rio 2016.

Oliver became the cox of the Paralympic LTA mixed four that won three successive World Championships and a gold in Rio 2016.

Now Oliver uses his passion and skills to inspire the next generation of rowers. He runs a rowing education programme in the London area for secondary school aged children. When speaking about how he coaches he can see the inspiration of his former instructor from the Sea Cadets still influencing his work today.

Laura from North West Sea Cadets Legasea

Laura's Story, LegaSea North-West area

My career success and how I handled a near life or death emergency, thanks to my Sea Cadets experience. Read Laura’s story. 

Laura (pictured back row, third from right) is now in her early 30s and balances her time between raising her young children and working life. As she looked back on her time in the Sea Cadets she sees the clear impact it had on her journey in life. The confidence and determination she developed in the cadets has carried her through much of her adult life so far. Including where she met her long-term partner and had their children together.

Laura spoke about how the experience of working through the ranks in the cadets helped in her approach to work. Giving her the confidence of going in at the bottom, and being deliberate about working her way up through the organisation and taking on more responsibilities.

Laura also counts her ability to respond well under pressure to Sea Cadets. She recalled a time when driving on the motorway and she was the first on the scene of an incident. A gentlemen had stopped in the middle of the road. He had suddenly become unwell and unable to drive. His car blocked the carriageway and his possessions had been thrown across the road. Other drivers impatient at the situation were dangerously driving around the vehicle and damaging the man’s possession.

Laura took charge of the situation. She stopped the traffic. Cleared the road of the man’s possessions. She made it safe for one lane of traffic to reopen until the situation was resolved. Laura responded quickly and confidently. She ensured the safety of the unwell man and enabled others to administer first aid without risk of further accident. She kept control of the situation until the emergency services were able to arrive and take over.

As Laura told the story it seemed to her as if she had just done the obvious and natural thing and that anyone else in her situation would have done the same. But Laura’s story demonstrates a confidence in crisis that is not commonly found. She attributed her ability to assess the situation and quickly plan an appropriate response down to her experiences as a cadet. Her sense of commitment to the safety of others and her ability to problem solve greatly improved the situation on that day. 

Northern area Sea Cadets LegaSea Story

The Veteran Band's Story, LegaSea Northern area

The TS Kelly band march again after 50 years apart.

Davy Hanson was the band master of the TS Kelly Hebburn Sea Cadets in the 1960s. He returned as a volunteer to the Hebburn Sea Cadets in 2010 to help the current band out. When Hebburn Sea Cadets were preparing to celebrate their 80th anniversary, they had an idea to get the old band back together to celebrate the occasion. Even after all the years that had passed since their initial founding, the idea was met with much enthusiasm by old band members.

Since 2014 the TS Kelly veteran band have continued to meet once every month to socialise and rehearse. Sadly, Davy Hanson passed away in 2018, but they still meet regularly to play together.

During our research into the lives of Sea Cadets Alumni, we had the privilege of interviewing the six members of the TS Kelly veteran band. We heard about their memorable adventures as cadets, and where life has taken them since.

They fondly recall their teenage years spending almost every day of the week involved in some kind of Sea Cadets activity. They sailed on the River Tyne and travelled all over the UK for competitions. They felt committed to each other and their success, beyond teamwork, it was a sense of being part of a family.

The community too became invested in the band's success for national competitions. For the Hebburn community, TS Kelly was rallied around by those on the south side of the River Tyne.

Today, the six men all say their career success can be traced back to their time in the Sea Cadets. It taught them to commit to doing a job well – to see things through to the end, even when unexpected challenges came their way. Life has taken these men on very different paths; they count working in the film industry, chemical engineering, teaching, being elected a local councillor, and serving in the Royal Navy, among their career paths. Across their different achievements, the men agree that the cadets was foundational in their adult lives. Not to mention how to properly present themselves ironed shirts and well-polished shoes.

When meeting Dave, Stephen, George, Les, Barry and Peter it is clear that their friendships are as strong as they were as cadets in the 1960s and the shared life experiences are only getting stronger with time. These men continue to understand and support each other all these years later.

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