A NEW training ship for Henley Sea Cadets was christened at their headquarters.
The £15,000 boat has been named The Berkshire Freemason in honour of the organisation’s donation of £4,000 towards the cost.
Phil Fletcher, chairman of the cadets, said it would be invaluable to the youngsters, whose ages range from 12 to 17. He said: “It’s a bigger vessel and has got a different coxing and steering position from our other boats, which are outboard or inboard motor with tiller steering.
“As a safety vessel, it’s one of the best you can get for inland waters.
“We want to give the cadets more experience of different vessels.” The boat will be used by the 43 cadets in Henley as well as about 450 others who visit from other centres. It will be sailed on the Thames in Henley and at Caversham Lakes.
Representatives from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Royal Naval Association and other service groups were at the cadets’ headquarters in Wargrave Road to witness the unveiling of the boat on Saturday. Martin Peters, provincial grandmaster of the Berkshire Freemasons, who helped christen the boat, said: “We like to support the community and this seemed like a worthwhile cause.”
The cadets contributed £8,000 through fund-raising activities and also received donations from Henley Rotary Club and Henley Lions Club.