Boat names have a special significance for Norwich Sea Cadets

Blessings were given and fizz broken over the bows of four new Norwich Sea Cadet boats last night.

At a ceremony on the city's Riverside the TS Lord Nelson unit of the Norwich Sea Cadets gave each of their four rowing boats a name with significance.

The rowing boats, which each cost around �2,500, were bought with a generous grant of �6,000 from the Geoffrey Watling Charity and from other benefactors.

Alan Watling, nephew of Geoffrey Watling and a trustee of the charity, said: 'We like giving grants to things that we can physically see and for things which are for youngsters.'

One boat is named Watling in his uncle's memory.

Aileen Dack broke champagne over the bow of a boat named after her father Ben Tillett MBE, who was a former chairman and commanding officer of the Norwich Sea Cadets. He was involved from 1942 until his death four years ago.

Mrs Dack said: 'He always used to be down here. He used to spend his life doing things for the cadets. I was thrilled a boat was to be named after him. He would have been pleased.'

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The third boat was named after Griffin Marine where the cadets maintain their boats, and ordinary cadet David Middleton, 13, had the chance to name the fourth Horatio when he won a competition.

He said: 'I thought it would be good because the unit is called the TS Lord Nelson and it was the first name of Lord Nelson. Next year it is the centenary of the unit so it will complete the set.'

He said they would be using the boats to learn how to row and moor and other skills.

The cadets have previously used cumbersome Ministry of Defence loaned Admiralty Sailing Craft boats which were

expensive to maintain.

'They were big bulky rowing boats', said chairman Irene Spinks. 'They cost between �800 and �900 to maintain.'

Commanding officer Lieutenant Mark Janner-Burgess said: 'This is a good day for us and we will use these boats for at least another 25 years.'

The unit has around 25 cadets aged between 10 and 18.

Are you riaisng money for a good cause? Email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk.