NORTHAMPTON’S Sea Cadets have joined Princess Diana, Sir Malcolm Arnold and the Northampton Saints in being granted the Freedom of the Borough.
The leaders of Northampton Borough Council recognised the Sea Cadets and Officers of Training Ship Laforey with the rare honour, which is the highest accolade the authority can bestow, in recognition of their achievements with youngsters.
The cadets have twice been named the top Sea Cadet unit in Britain. The honorary title was last awarded to the Saints in 2004, while Princess Diana was granted the honour in 1989.
In front of around 200 people, including cadets and their parents, the unit was officially granted the Freedom of the Borough inside the Great Hall in The Guildhall on Saturday morning. They then celebrated the honour with a parade on Sunday morning in front of The Guildhall before proceeding through the town and into the Market Square.
Lieutenant (SCC) Chris Read, Commanding Officer of Northampton Sea Cadets, said: “It is a tremendous honour. We believe we are the first Sea Cadet unit in the country to be recognised in this way, and without the support of the borough council the Sea Cadets here would not be as successful as we are.”
He admitted some of the younger cadets did not fully understand the scale of the prestigious award, but said it would be something they could “tell their grandchildren about” later.
Speaking during the ceremony, leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “I am delighted to be endorsing the Sea Cadets today for this award of the Freedom of the Borough, the highest award that this council can bestow.”
Mayor of Northampton, Jamie Lane, added: “This award really is richly deserved. Through their committed work and determination they have reached the level of best Sea Cadet unit in the country.”
Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, added: “The Freedom of the Borough is awarded only very rarely and it is fitting that it has been awarded to the Sea Cadets.”
To join the Sea Cadets, visit www.northamptonseacadets.org