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Islington Sea Cadets set to reform – five years after fire safety concerns forced it to shut, sparking parents’ fury

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 July 2017

Islington Sea Cadets: Marc Jones of Selco with Islington Sea Cadets committee member Derick Vellosa. The firm supplied 13 fire doors after the cadets' base failed safety inspections and had to shut five years ago. Picture: Selco

Islington Sea Cadets: Marc Jones of Selco with Islington Sea Cadets committee member Derick Vellosa. The firm supplied 13 fire doors after the cadets' base failed safety inspections and had to shut five years ago. Picture: Selco

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The Islington Sea Cadets group is set to reform – five years after it was shut down.

Islington Sea Cadets pictured five years ago on Islington Green during celebrations for Armed Forces Day.Islington Sea Cadets pictured five years ago on Islington Green during celebrations for Armed Forces Day.

In 2012, the cadets’ Canonbury Road centre was forced to close over fire safety concerns, with emergency exits not fit for purpose.

About 15 cadets were forced to switch to other units across the capital.

But after years of work behind the scenes to revive the Islington group, it looks likely to reopen. Selco, a building materials supplier, has donated 13 fire doors, as well as frames and hinges.

Derick Vellosa, an Islington Sea Cadets committee member, said: “It was gutting when we had to close the doors to the Canonbury Road centre after more than 70 years of sea cadets in Islington [the group was founded in 1942].

Islington Sea Cadets: Marc Jones of Selco with Islington Sea Cadets committee member Derick Vellosa. Picture: SelcoIslington Sea Cadets: Marc Jones of Selco with Islington Sea Cadets committee member Derick Vellosa. Picture: Selco

“We had about 15 cadets who had to switch to units in Clapton, Haringey and the City of London.

“It has been a hard slog, but we are now nearly ready to re-open, with a target date of the end of this year or the beginning of the next.

“This donation by Selco is a massive help. It’s fantastic to see a local company getting involved with the community in this way.”

The centre was converted from an electricity substation in 1982.Since it was closed five years ago, the building has also had a new roof and windows installed.

"It was gutting when we had to close the doors to the Canonbury Road centre after more than 70 years of sea cadets in Islington. [...] It has been a hard slog, but we are now nearly ready to re-open"

Derick Vellosa

The committee is also currently working on a new heating system.

Derick added: “This will be a fantastic facility when it’s all finished, and there is a possibility it might be used by other groups as well.”

Marc Jones, manager at the Selco warehouse in White Hart Lane, Tottenham, said: “The organisation does great work with youngsters and it’s such a shame that the Islington unit was forced from the centre.

“The new-look centre will be a much better facility – and much safer, too.”

It was the Marine Society and Sea Cadets who licensed the premises – and forced its closure over the safety concerns.

At the time, furious parents told the Gazette they would fight the body over its decision, saying the building could become a “squat”.

One, Angela Gordon, had said: “It’s disgusting. The kids are gutted. Some of them joined at 10 and they are now 18.

“Some staff joined about the same age and are now in their mid 20s. There are a lot of memories there.”

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