Nicole to represent Northern Ireland in Russian adventure

A LARNE sea cadet has been chosen as the only person from Northern Ireland to have the chance to take part in an international exchange to Russia.

Leading Cadet Nicole Todd will travel to St Petersburg next week to join with cadets from all over the world. Before setting off on the adventure of a lifetime, Nicole was invited to the Mayor’s Parlour, where Larne’s “first citizen” Bobby McKee and his wife Betty wished the teenager well for her trip.

Nicole explained how she had to undertake an intensive selection process before being successfully selected as the only cadet from Northern Ireland chosen for this year’s exchange.

She met with the mayor – along with her parents and grandfather – to discuss her trip. Cllr McKee kindly gave her gifts from Larne to share with her hosts in Russia for what is sure to be a memorable trip. He said he is looking forward to meeting again on her return to hear of her adventures.

The Russian trip is the second honour to come Nicole’s way this summer. Her talents as a photographer have also been spotted, with her entry in a UK-wide competition being highly commended.

In 2011 the Royal Navy’s prestigious Peregrine Trophy UK photographic competition included a new Sea Cadet section and it was with great pride, on behalf of the Captain of the Sea Cadet Corp, Capt Mark Windsor, that Sub Lieutenant Deirdre Lewis Deirdre Lewis presented Nicole with her award for her entry – a photograph taken just off Carnfunnock during a rainy cadet sailing night.

It was one of only two photos commended throughout the UK.

Exchange programmes, like Nicole’s Russian adventure, are one of the many opportunities available to local sea cadets. Others include crewing the sea cadet fleet vessels, including the tall ship TS Royalist, and power vessels TS John Jerwood and TS Jack Petchey.

Larne Sea Cadets are one of 11 units in Northern Ireland and meet each Monday and Thursday night at 6.30pm at Carnfunnock slipway and, depending on the weather, the cadets sail, kayak or go power boating.

No experience is necessary and full training and accredited qualifications will be given for the vast array of courses available.

The Larne unit always welcomes new members, so if you are aged between 12 and 18, you are invited to go down to the slipway at Carnfunnock, speak to a member of staff and give Sea Cadets a try or telephone the officer in charge, SLt (SCC) Deirdre Lewis RNR 0788 9975441 for more information.