The 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts’ new jetties and boatyard have been officially opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent with more than 80 youngsters welcoming him to their hut in St Nicholas Park.
His Royal Highness was on hand to open the new jetties and boatyard – the first phase in the Sea Scouts group’s ‘Building a Future’ project.
The Sea Scouts raised a total of £150,000 to fund the new jetties and boatyard, with an overall fundraising goal of £800,000 for the entire initiative, of which £570,000 has now been raised.
The next step in the project will be building a new headquarters next to St Nicholas Park Leisure Centre, replacing the 50-year-old current hut, which is in a state of disrepair and too small to accommodate the group, with over 130 children on its waiting list.
The group aim to start building their new HQ in 2019, on its 60th anniversary.
The Duke was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant, Timothy Cox, and then escorted to the front of the scout hut by Group Scout Leader Martin Stockbridge and Frankie Beckett, 12.
They then conducted a naval tradition colours ceremony, with the Sea Scout ‘Red Ensign’ flag raised.
Isobel Everett and Imogen George were presented with Chief Scout Gold Badges by His Royal Highness, with Tom Bosworth and Rachel Eslick also presented with special ‘ambassador awards’.
The Duke then cut the bunting and officially open the new and redeveloped jetties, before watching youngsters launch boats.
Before leaving His Royal Highness unveiled a ‘Funders Wall’, recognising organisations who had helped to fund the project.
Representatives from major funders were present including Entrust (representing the Landfill Communities Fund), Warwick Rotary Club, King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, Rowlands Trusts, Kenilworth Round Table, The Rank Foundation, The Deeley Group, WE Dunne Trust, and Cllr SP Cross Mayor of Warwick 2017/18.
Martin Stockbridge, Group Scout Leader at 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts, said: “It was a great honour to welcome The Duke of Kent, to our group and we would like to thank him officially opening our new jetties.
“The new jetties will be a valuable resource for our group and the local community and, coupled with the new headquarters, will secure the future of 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts for many years to come.
“We would like to thank all of our valued supporters for their continued backing of our ‘Building a Future’ project. We hope that after today, we will gain even more support to help us secure the final funding we need for our new HQ.
“It was a brilliant day which showcased everything that is good about our group and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended.”
Peter Deeley, Managing Director of the Deeley Group, who has been a key supporter of the Sea Scouts’ initiative, said: “The Deeley Group is proud to have supported the ‘Building a Future’ initiative and it is fantastic to see the new jetties now open and being used by members of the group and the local community.”
Frankie Beckett, 12, who escorted His Royal Highness, said: “I had an amazing day meeting The Duke of Kent, and I was proud to represent 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts.
“I was excited that I had been picked to accompany him.
“The Duke was extremely nice, and I enjoyed answering all his questions. It is a day that I will never forget.”
The major funding that enabled the works to go ahead was a grant of £92,576.40, awarded by WREN from the Landfill Communities Funds of FCC Environment Ltd. Richard Smith, Grant Manager for WREN said: “The completed jetties are a fantastic improvement which will allow access to the water for a variety of users at St Nicholas Park. The Sea Scouts should be rightly proud that their achievement has been recognised with a Royal visit.”
For more information on the ‘Building a Future’ project or to donate click here