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Cadets enjoy the Illustrious

Front view of the HMS Illustrious with the Maltese contingent on the ski-ramp. Photo: Royal Navy Photographic Unit

Front view of the HMS Illustrious with the Maltese contingent on the ski-ramp. Photo: Royal Navy Photographic Unit

Cadets and officers from the Malta GC Unit of the Sea Cadet Corps recently had the pleasure of standing on the ski-ramp of HMS Illustrious as the carrier entered gently into Grand Harbour.

Six cadets, accompanied by three officers from the Malta GC Unit, who flew to Sicily and made their way to Augusta, joined the ship the next day as it prepared to sail to Malta. Their voyage, albeit a short one, was packed with all sorts of activities on board.

This year, the Malta GC Unit, which is affiliated to HMS Illustrious, celebrated 50 years since theunit’s first visit on HMS Phoenicia on Manoel Island in 1962. The unit has three sections, open to boys and girls aged between 10 and 18, and a detachment of Royal Marines Cadets, open to youngsters from the age of 13.

Cadets meet twice a week and most weekends to learn a variety of skills, including seamanship, sailing, power boating, cooking and stewarding. Perhaps the greatest things cadets learn are respect, self-reliance and leadership.

During its stay in Malta, HMS Illustrious continued to involve the Malta GC Unit in its activities. During the reunification ceremony of the Three Trumpets on the hangar deck, cadets escorted the trumpets and presented them to the respective mayors of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea.

On the days the ship was open to visitors, the Malta GC Unit set up a stand on the hangar deck to raise funds for the new ship that will be replacing the sail training ship Royalist. The ship is being replaced by a bigger sailing brig for use by the sea cadets over the next 30 years.

The Malta GC Unit thanked Capt. Martin Connell who, besides commanding HMS Illustrious, is also an honorary president of the Malta GC Unit, the Royal Navy and all those who helped make the visit such a success for the cadets.

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