BOLTON’S Sea Cadets unit celebrated securing its long-term future at a special handover ceremony.

The unit, which came close to shutting down permanently last year, received a new, 25-year lease from Bolton Council for its Castle Street building, which will mean future generations of Bolton youngsters will be able to enjoy being part of the organisation.

The future of the unit, which was established in 1942, was put under threat in June last year when members were told that the Castle Street premises was closing because asbestos had been found inside.

But after removing the asbestos, Bolton Council, which owns the building, has now agreed the new lease with the sea cadets on a “peppercorn rent” which will secure the unit’s future.

Contractors removed the asbestos in autumn last year and the cadets began returning to the building in December.

They will now be able to manage the property themselves as well as access funding for improvements. Unit members were joined by a host of Bolton councillors for the handover ceremony as well as the new Mayor of Bolton Cllr Martin Donaghy.

During the ceremony, thanks was given to the council as well as to members of the community who have helped to repair the grade 11 listed building and the neighbouring Ukrainian club was also thanked for offering the unit a temporary home while the asbestos was removed last year.

Sue Pennock, chairman of Bolton Sea Cadets said: “This is a great moment for the unit. We are thrilled that, with the support of the local community and council, we have remained a part of the Bolton community and that young people can continue to benefit from the great opportunities Sea Cadets can offer them.

“We believe passionately in giving young people the best possible head start in life by helping them to access lots of different opportunities.

“Thank you for giving us a chance to keep doing what we do best.”

Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the unit can contact Bolton Sea Cadets on 01204 526749.