Cadets seek strength to cope with tragedy
TRAINING SHIP FALL KILLS TEENAGER WHO LOVED WATER SPORTS
PRAYERS are being said tonight (Thursday) by Ashford Sea Cadets for fellow member Jonathan Martin who fell to his death from a ship’s rigging.
The Sea Cadets will hold a minute’s silence for the 14year-old and prayers will be officiated by their chaplain, the Rev Colin Preece, at their twice-weekly meeting.
A full attendance is expected at the meeting at the cadets’ base at Ashford TA Centre in Chart Road.
It is part of the mass of tributes and condolences, nationally and internationally, for Jonathan, of Shadoxhurst, and his grieving family.
Jonathan’s commanding officer, Lt Alison Oates, said: “This has been a tremendous shock for all cadets and their parents.
“We will hold a minute’s silence and prayers for Jonathan tonight.
“As a unit we need to make sure we are strong enough to deal with this.
“We have also had messages of sympathy from sea cadets from all over the UK.”
Lt Oates said that Jonathan had been part of Ashford Sea Cadets for two years and had achieved his sailing and canoeing qualifications.
Lt Oates said: “He was very enthusiastic and enjoyed a lot of water sports.
“He was one of the quieter members of the group but always enjoyed taking part in activities.”
Jonathan had been working on a sail when tragedy struck in the Solent, Hampshire, on Sunday evening.
He had been stowing a sail on the Sea Cadets Corps’ flagship TS Royalist when he fell into the water at Stokes Bay, near Gosport, at about 8.30pm.
The ship had sailed to the bay that evening.
Jonathan was plucked from the water by a lifeboat and taken by helicopter to the Queen Alexandra Hospital at nearby Cosham where he was pronounced dead.
Mike Cornish, chief executive of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets, told the Kentish Express: “Our understanding is that the boy fell from the forward starboard side, while on the yardarm. We believed the fall would have been 20 to 30ft. This is clearly a tragedy for his family, the organisation and his unit.”
He said that cadets would use safety harnesses while climbing the rigging.
Jonathan was one of 19 cadets on board for a weeklong exercise and was bringing in the sails when he fell.
It is unknown if any other cadets from the Ashford unit were also on board.
The vessel had been taking part in celebrations in the Solent to mark the cadet movement’s 150th anniversary.
The Sea Cadets Corps are working with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch to find out what happened.
There were reportedly 10 staff on board the brig with the youngsters, who where aged 13 to 18.
The TS Royalist, aboard which 14-year-old Sea Cadet Jonathan Martin died after falling from the rigging
Jonathan Martin, the Ashford sea cadet who fell to his death from a training ship