Cadets overcome closure threat

The Lytham St Annes sea cadets will put on a parade night to celebrate the group's 70th birthday.
The Lytham St Annes sea cadets will put on a parade night to celebrate the group's 70th birthday.
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Not long ago, these sea cadets were under threat – now the troops have gathered to celebrate their group’s 70th birthday.

In 2009 the number of young people attending Lytham St Annes Sea Cadets dropped dramatically, leaving the group with the real and imminent threat of closure.

In the past, it had been run by John Clayton and his son, Dave, who had worked his way up the ranks from being a cadet to being second in command.

When it came to troubled times, Dave’s mum, Pauline – chairwoman of the group – suggested Dave step up and help keep the group alive.

Now a Petty Officer, Dave said: “It was difficult. We were weeks away from shutting.

“We were able to very quickly reach staff from other units for a final push for new cadets.”

And that final push worked, as Dave and his team brought in new faces, and even welcomed new members of staff.

He said: “It’s continuing to grow.

“We have more in numbers now than we’ve had in many years.”

And someone who is happy for the hard work of Dave and his family is Niamh Rowley, who wants to go into the forces.

She said: “We go on camp, and have sessions in sailing, climbing, drill marching, tieing knots, map reading, cooking and sports.

“Being a cadet is good fun, and I’m getting a lot of experience for when I want to go into the Navy.”

Dave, who is one of the youngest sea cadet leaders at 27, said: “Everything the sea cadets do makes me proud, and very happy to see.”

The cadet force is a real family affair for Dave, as his brother Dan is also involved as treasurer.

The group will celebrate its 70th year with a party on Friday, when the cadets will put on a parade.

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