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The Bolton branch of the Sea Cadets is based at TS Dido’, a large but quite run down house on Castle Street in Bolton. Rented from Bolton Council the premises have to be maintained totally by the Sea Cadets management. Bringing the class rooms and other facilities up to a usable modern standard is a major challenge to the volunteers who run this centre.
Bolton District freemasons are massive supporters of TS Dido and do a lot of support work there with Liz Ogden, the wife of Bolton Comms Officer and Chairman of the Communications Committee, Alan Ogden, being the Training Officer. After a successful application to the ELMC Fundraising Committee a grant of £3,000 was made towards the cost of converting two old unusable rooms into a classroom for the Senior Cadets.
On a visit Liz explained that the existing Senior classroom was not up to the standard required to give the required level of training to the cadets; as the pictures below show the room does not even have curtains or a proper white board, never mind any Audio Visual equipment.
The grant has allowed for the refurbishment of the two old rooms into one large room, although still to be carpeted, furnished and equipped with Audio Visual equipment the room is almost ready for use.
Much of the labour part of the work has been carried out by members of the Bolton District which has obviously left more funds available for the purchase of the planned high tech equipment.
Liz explained that the facilities are used to train quite a few cadets – 34 on the evening of our visit, being 10 Junior and 24 Senior. Instruction is given in such subjects as Seamanship, Drill and Parade, Naval History, Naval Structure, Marine Engineering and Catering and Stewarding. The cadets from TS Dido can often be seen out in the community, attending such events as the Mayor’s reception, bag packing in support of Help for Heroes, and raising funds for McMillan Cancer Support.
As well as being a base for the Sea Cadets, the premises are also used by some Community Groups, for example, Sewing Classes, Yoga, Catering and even Ghost Hunter Groups (the cellar is reputed to be haunted!)
You can learn more about this very worthwhile organisation at https://www.sea-cadets.org/bolton/about
Report by Gerry Russell