To borrow some nautical terms, Grangemouth Sea Cadets are casting off under new colours as they make ready to mark their 75th birthday.
The cadets, officially known as TS (Training Ship) Forth, were founded in December 1942 with the aim to instil confidence and discipline in youngsters and give them a sense of purpose.
It’s a worthy aim which continues to this very day, only two months away from the unit’s big anniversary.
The sea cadets usually meet every Monday and Thursday evening from 7pm to 9.30pm, but they got together on Saturday, September 23, to make the transition from their old colours to their new ones.
The occasion was marked with a special blessing service in Zetland Parish Church conducted by Reverend Alison Meikle, with Lord Lieutenant for Falkirk Alan Simpson in attendance.
Cadet force adult volunteer Ian Ludlow said: “We decided to acknowledge our 75th anniversary by purchasing new colours. The parade to Zetland Parish Church on Saturday allowed us to lay up the old colours – they will now be stored in the church – and have our new colours blessed.
“We then paraded through the town centre accompanied by the HM Royal Marines Band Scotland after the service to show our new colours, which are now at our HQ at Grangemouth Docks.”
The cadets, who range in age from ten up to 18 and are split into junior cadets, sea cadets and Royal Marine cadets, are planning to hold a special birthday celebration on Monday, December 4 – the very date 75 years ago the unit was founded.
TS Forth, which currently has around 50 cadets, has called a number of locations home over the years, but has spent over 20 years at Forth Ports in Grangemouth Docks, which provides them with junction dock – a ready made enclosed water training area which is perfect for sailing, paddling and other summer activities.
Many cadets choose to undertake their Duke of Edinburgh Award while attending the unit and can work towards gaining recognised BTEC qualifications in everything from music to marine engineering.
They also have the chance to head out to sea to take part in a variety of sailing courses.
The unit is always looking for adult volunteers to help out – no previous experience is required, just a lot of enthusiasm.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information about Grangemouth Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets.