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Captain Sea Cadets Bids Farewell

Captain Philip Russell RN is stepping down as Captain Sea Cadets after six years of helping to steer the Sea Cadets experience and inspiring young people all over the UK. Here he shares a farewell message and some of his highlights as Captain.

I feel incredibly privileged to have served as Captain Sea Cadets for six-and-a-half years. It has been a time of great success for the charity, as we have grown through investing in infrastructure, equipment and volunteers to keep Sea Cadets relevant and exciting.

The proof of our success is clear in our amazing cadets and it has been a real pleasure to meet and encourage so many of you as you find your way in life. It has also been a humbling experience to work with our incredible volunteers who give their time freely to support cadets as they develop. 

As I retire from service, I would like to say a very big thank you to all those who have made my final years in the Royal Navy both memorable and heart-warming. You are all a credit to yourselves and to Sea Cadets. BZ. friends, colleagues and cadets.


Visiting units
Getting out and meeting cadets and volunteers has been brilliant. I visited around 230 units in total and while each unit is unique I have been met by the same warm welcome and have always been impressed by the commitment of our volunteers and enthusiasm of our cadets.

Cadet development has been an important part of my role. I’m encouraged by the renewed interest in developing Senior Cadets, and the Cadet Forums. The Virtual Leadership Academy has ensured that even more cadets can develop their leadership skills. I believe our Senior Cadets are the best they have ever been. BZ. 

Getting married!
Nerve-racking though it was, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to propose to my wife than among the Sea Cadets family at the National Combined Regatta. It was also a delight to have the South West Area Sea Cadets Band escort my bride to the church on our wedding day. It made me a very happy Captain. 

The Commissioning of TS Royalist by HRH the Princess Royal
A really memorable day at the start of my time as Captain. This was the start of huge development in Sea Cadets that has seen us invest in new yachts, upgrade our inshore fleet and open up new boat stations.

Camps and competitions
These always have an incredible buzz and gave me an excuse to try some of the amazing activities cadets can enjoy. Although, unlike many royal marines cadets, I have to admit to passing on the opportunity to try the regain over the icy waters of the tank at the Royal Marines Training Centre at Lympstone! Hats off to those who have!

Sea Cadets National Band Competition at the Tower of London

Sea Cadets’ response to Covid-19
The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging but this time has reinforced my admiration for you all as I witnessed once again everyone pulling together as one. Apart from cadets’ support of their communities, it was truly amazing to watch the charity switch to productive online activities almost overnight with the launch of Virtual Sea Cadets, and then bounce back to face-to-face activity when conditions allowed. Working together and following the Sea Cadets’ ethos, we have yet again proved we really are Ready Aye Ready for anything.

Cadets take part in VE Day commemorations from their gardens and doorsteps in 2020
Sea Cadets Offshore Taster days

Get Offshore

Get Offshore! For many cadets, this is their first time on the water for more than 18 months. Hear about the adventures of cadets experiencing offshore taster days as the fleet visited ports around the UK.

“Blown away,” is how Leading Cadet Alex, 16, describes his first view of TS Jack Petchey. “It stood out! It’s probably the biggest ship  we’ve seen in Gloucester Docks for a while. I was very impressed by it. Most of us hadn’t been on a ship that big before.”

“It really inspired me, I don’t know what I want to do when I’m older, but maybe that’s it – going offshore as crew, meeting new people, and helping them to enjoy it.” Able Cadet Susie, 17, Gloucester unit.

Click here to read more.


Team GB Gold Medallist Rowing team

Careers - How to be a professional Athlete

Former Sea Cadet and Team GB Gold Medallist Oliver James gives their three ways Sea Cadets can help you have a career in sports:

1. Passion for the water – this was very relevant for me, as a rower.

2. Life skills – the problem-solving you learn and the way Sea Cadets teaches you to think really stays with you. One of the key things about competing is ignoring the outcome and focusing on the process, so going through the leadership boards was really important for me – not as the leader of the team, but as the communicator.

3. Commitment – self-discipline and seeing things through. For me, it’s been the cultural environment and values of Sea Cadets that have really helped. The people skills you learn and character traits you build are all really transferable for the future.

Click here to read Sea Cadets full interview with Oliver James. 

Royal Marines Cadet completes Fan Dance trial Sheffield Sea Cadets

RM Cadet youngest to complete SAS Fan Dance trial

The 15-year-old Royal Marines cadet is thought to be the youngest person to complete the gruelling Fan Dance special forces endurance trial.

Royal Marines Cadet Salahudeen conquered the 15-mile selection march up and around Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacon's 2,907ft peak carrying a 35lb (16kg) pack. 

The Fan Dance Special Forces endurance trial is an infamous part of the SAS's selection process which has a 90% drop out rate amongst mostly British soldiers. 

Cadet Sal crossed the finish line to applause in just over six hours. 

Sal took on the personal challenge has raised thousands of pounds for his unit and The Special Boat Service Association. Check out Sal’s JustGiving page here.

Lilyella Craw from Lanarkshire bested the march in four and a half hours in 2017 when she was 17. 

The time limit for SAS candidates in 20 hours. 

He has now set his sights on his next challenge - to do the historic nine-mile speed march in Scotland that was the test for Commandos in the Second World War. 

Royal Marines Sea Cadet magazine

Where we belong - Part of the family

Three cadets share their personal stories about how being part of Sea Cadets has helped them find a sense of belonging


“I was born in Nowa Sól, western Poland. At first, it was difficult to adjust to life in the UK as I didn’t speak English and so it was hard to make friends. But as time went on, I got used to the school system and got on quite well. I am now fluent in English. I also speak some German and Spanish.

“I found out about Sea Cadets after watching the 2017 Remembrance Parade in Crewe’s town centre. I joined up the following week! Everyone was very welcoming at my first parade night, and I was encouraged to join in.

“I’ve now been a sea cadet for almost four brilliant years. Crewe Unit is like a family, we all look out for each other and help each other out. 

“My Commanding Officer and the other instructors and volunteers put a lot of time and energy into making each parade night a success. 

“Sea Cadets has helped me to develop my confidence – before joining, I was quite shy and anxious. Being a sea cadet has also taught me leadership skills and how to help others. 

“I’ve made lots of friends through Sea Cadets and I’ve learnt a lot of different things”


“My most significant experience was taking part in a district rowing competition. We didn’t win but the teamwork and team spirit we showed is what being a sea cadet is all about.

“I like how Sea Cadets allows you to participate in lots of different competitions across many different disciplines. I’ve made lots of friends through Sea Cadets and I’ve learnt a lot of different things, ranging from piping to first aid. 

“I’m thinking about taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award next, as well as a Physical Training or an Engineering course. I hope to become a civil or automotive engineer one day, and possibly go on to become a Sea Cadets instructor.

“I’d like to say to anyone new in the country thinking about joining Sea Cadets: go for it! You will learn new skills, meet new people and grow as a person.” 

Kajetan with fellow cadets from Crewe unit


“I was born and raised in England but I am of Nigerian descent. I speak English, French and Yoruba, one of the main languages spoken in Nigeria. I’m very proud of my Nigerian heritage – it’s a culturally diverse country with rich traditions. 

LC Marykay

“I have been a cadet for five years. I am currently the only cadet of Nigerian descent in my unit but I think the charity is very welcoming to cadets of minority ethnic backgrounds. For example, I remember some Sikh cadets who joined a few years ago. Their religion requires them to wear turbans, but this wasn’t a problem. They wore a turban in the same colour as their uniforms and put their beret badge on their turban

“My unit is a place where we can all learn and grow. We encourage each other to try new things”


“My unit is a place where we can all learn and grow together. We encourage each other to try new things. Being part of Sea Cadets has enabled me to gain many qualifications, skills and achievements. I have taken part in courses in Marine Engineering, First Aid, Kayaking and Adventure Training. Being a cadet has taught me a lot about teamwork and how to be an effective leader. I’ve made a lot of new friends. I also enjoy volunteering and social action projects and giving back to my community. 

“My most significant moments with Sea Cadets have been at the 2019 Trafalgar Day Parade (pictured on the cover), becoming a Leading Cadet and receiving a Deputy Lieutenant of Enfield Borough award from the Mayor. 

“I was very motivated to become a Leading Cadet as I wanted to be one of the first cadets of Nigerian descent to reach this position for my unit. I hope to be a role model for other cadets from minority backgrounds. And I plan to achieve much more – this is just the beginning!”

LC Marykay taking part in the Trafalgar Day Parade 

Read more of these stories on the digital issue of The Sea Cadet Magazine here.

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