It has held a "long association" with a maritime town over "many decades," providing hundreds of youngsters with skills, qualifications and memories lasting a lifetime.

And now a new unit is set to provide opportunities in the district, following the closure of the Lowestoft Sea Cadets.

Of the end of the unit, Leo Whisstock, trustee for the Lowestoft Sea Cadet Unit, said: "Sea Cadets, in various forms, have had a presence in Lowestoft for many decades and since February 10, 1965 have been part of the National Sea Cadet Corps as Unit 525, Lowestoft Sea Cadet Corps, TS Europa.

"In its heyday the unit had a lot of cadets and instructors and was looked upon as a very successful unit, taking part in both area and national competitions with good results."

Over the years - like all voluntary youth organisations - the unit has declined in numbers of both staff and cadets, despite active recruiting campaigns.

Mr Whisstock said: "When the unit building had to be demolished we were given temporary use of part of the TA Drill hall in St Peters Street and then allocated an old large shed in the TA grounds which unfortunately did nothing to encourage both cadets and staff.

"The crux came when the Sea Cadet Corps District Officer visited the unit and suggested that the only option he could see was to either close the unit or merge it with another unit.

"The senior cadet section were given the option to go to the Beccles Sea Cadet unit for classes but still remain as Lowestoft cadets but unfortunately due to the distance involved not all the senior cadets made the move.

"The junior cadets stayed at the Lowestoft unit and again recruiting was undertaken, but the District team felt the only option was to merge the unit with Beccles and close the Lowestoft unit."


Mr Whisstock said: "It is a very sad state of affairs given that Lowestoft is a maritime town with strong naval connections and those of us who have been involved with the Sea Cadet Corps are extremely disappointed.

"There is one positive note in that the Beccles Unit is a very active unit has now been officially renamed the Beccles and Lowestoft Sea Cadet Corps, based at Fen Lane, Beccles and will continue to support and recruit in the Lowestoft area.

Beccles & Bungay Journal: The Lowestoft Unit colour is paraded for the last time. Picture: Lowestoft Sea Cadet UnitThe Lowestoft Unit colour is paraded for the last time. Picture: Lowestoft Sea Cadet Unit (Image: Lowestoft Sea Cadet Unit)

"The Lowestoft Unit colour was paraded for the last time at the annual reunion in Lowestoft of the Royal Naval Patrol Service from which the unit took its name of TS Europa after the Second World War headquarters of the RNPS, HMS Europa."

Mr Whisstock added: "We would like to thank all the individuals and businesses that have supported the Lowestoft Unit over its long association with the town and look forward to continued support as the new unit moves forward."