On Wednesday 5 November 2014, the headquarters of the Sea Cadets in Strand Road, Preston was a hive of industry as several organisations came together to give the building a truly splendid makeover. Workers galore were there to build, renovate and give the place a new lease of life in providing a much needed service to young Sea and Royal Marine Cadets for Preston to be proud of.Advertisement
Up to the late 1990’s, the premises of the Sea Cadets headquarters was made up entirely of a timber constructed building which was part of the former First World War hospital on Moor Park. The image immediately above shows a remaining original section of the former hospital as viewed in the following image from Preston Digital Archive:
This timber section of the premises if now used as T.S. Galloway (Training Ship) and is where the general day-to-day activities of the organisation take place. The 1990’s build building is used to house boats and training rooms in the upper section.
Over time, the premises has suffered decay and had become in need of much maintenance and refurbishment; the problem being that the Sea Cadets unit are entirely self financing and there has not been sufficient funds in the coffers to enable the work to be done. This is where the meeting of the committee and Jacky Hohol from the Business in the Community organisation took place which resulted in several organisations being involved, coming to the rescue at the right time.
The contractors undertaking most of the construction work are Amey, one of the largest and most diverse companies working for the public and regulated sectors in the UK. The work of a large team and building materials provided by Amey, assembled a large donated concrete garage, did all the essential groundwork on the front of the premises ready to be landscaped. They also gave a makeover to a section of the building by the addition of a small reception room and a full paint job on the remaining part.
The landscaping on the front of the premises will be done by Dig In North West, a Community Interest Company who have volunteers ready to create a landscape feature which will be entirely in keeping with the purpose of the place. Donna Rowe Green, director of Dig In North West, told us that she wants to make flower beds of the old boats which have been placed in the ground at the front of the premises and create features which will greatly enhance the overall look and feel of the Sea Cadets headquarters.
To be there on the day, one would never imagine how the work would be complete in such a short time, with so many people together all working on the project, it looked like a manic episode of the two TV series ‘Groundforce’ and ‘Extreme Makeover’ all rolled into one. However, it all worked out in the end and now there are only the finishing touches to do.
The workers were not left to starve on that day as Greggs the bakers came to the rescue of the hungry mouths by providing all the sandwiches, donuts, cookies, crisps and drinks free of charge. We even sampled a couple of the scruptious goodies ourselves …purely for research you understand.
Steve Hills, Chairman and Debbie Bird, Committee member, told us that they were absolutely delighted and very grateful for everything that was being done and couldn’t thank enough all those who are involved with the project.
All photography by Gill Lawson.
Have you ever been involved with Preston Sea Cadets? Let us know in the comments below.