BIRKENHEAD Sea Cadets are going back home, eight months after arsonists destroyed their Park Road East base.
The cadets, aged between ten and 18, are said to be “absolutely amazed and excited” by the refurbishment work, much of which has been completed by kind-hearted local traders.
Phil Atkinson is vice-chairman of Birkenhead Sea Cadets. He told the News: “Like any kids, when they enjoy something and it’s taken away from them, they were all very disappointed.
“They were all quite worried to begin with.
“But we kept the kids interested and now they’re all absolutely amazed and excited and really can’t wait to get back into the unit.
“It’s their unit, for them and they’re really enthusiastic about it.”
As reported by the News, the cadets’ previous hut, a 1950s wooden building, was badly damaged by arsonists in November last year and was no longer safe to use.
But Phil and other staff soon struck up a relationship with Birkenhead Fire Station chiefs, allowing them to keep up parades on the fire station premises.
Phil said: “We’re very grateful to the fire station and have built up a good rapport with them.
“They’ve taken the kids on, let them help with a car wash and walk around town dressed as firemen.
“We’ve had committee meetings there, it’s been fantastic.
“We wouldn’t have got where we are today without them keeping the kids interested in everything.”
Phil says he and colleagues have been able to keep numbers stable at around 30, but are looking to start recruiting again now the facilities match their ambitions.
Any adults who are interested in helping out should also get in touch.
And if any local firms have spare IT equipment they could donate, plus any other items that may be of use, their generosity will be gratefully received.
Phil added: “A lot of businesses deserve recognition for what they’re doing for us.
“As soon as we started phoning around, we had businesses saying ‘yeah we saw that in the paper, what can we do?’ ”
To join the Sea Cadets, or offer help, call Phil on 0151 606 0797.