The Royal Tunbridge Wells Sea Cadet Unit “TS Brilliant” has received a combined £700 donation from the town’s King Charles the Martyr Lodge of Mark Master Masons and the Kent Mark Benevolent Fund (KMBF).

Earlier this year the KMBF announced a match-funding scheme whereby any Lodge in the Province may petition for up to £200 to enhance their own donations to a local charity or worthy cause.

Pictured (r-l) are Lt (SCC) Matt Vanns, Commanding Officer of TS Brilliant, Phil Bussingham, Worshipful Master of King Charles the Martyr Lodge, Unit Members & Junior Cadets and Les Chapman, KMBF Trustee, King Charles the Martyr Lodge Charity Steward and Vice President of Tunbridge Wells Sea Cadets.

The £700 donation, which will assist TS Brilliant who are are trying to raise over £300,000* to refurbish and expand their hall which was purchased in 1948, is made up of £500 from King Charles the Martyr Lodge and £200 of match-funding from the KMBF.

*At the conclusion of the Second World War, the Unit was rewarded for its efforts with a gift of £1,000 from the Admiralty. With other generous donations the Unit Management Committee was able to purchase the church school building in Albion Road in 1948, which had been used as an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Station until early 1945. The Unit still meets in this building today.

The aim of this project is to create a fit for purpose establishment for the Tunbridge Wells Sea Cadets, suitable for the next 50 years.

Its objectives include, to:

  • provide accessible and inclusive facilities, including welfare facilities
  • update life expired mechanical and electrical services
  • provide CAT6 data cabling to new and existing classrooms
  • provide three extra classrooms
  • increase cadet and volunteer numbers by 50%
  • extend the galley to serve as a teaching space
  • reduce the carbon footprint and heating bills through better insulation
  • create a space for public groups to hire to support unit sustainability

In 1998 the unit was awarded the Canada Trophy as the Best Overall Unit in the country, beating four hundred other units for this prestigious title and remains in the top three for the Southern District today.

Some of the current cadets had parents and grandparents as members of the Unit. An estimated 3,500 cadets have passed through Tunbridge Wells Sea Cadets Corps in its 88 year history.

Picture by David Walter, Press Photographer, TS Brilliant.