PUPILS at an Urmston school are setting sail on a new course.

It follows a decision to open a Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force (CCF) section has been opened at St Antony’s Catholic College in Urmston, which was given the official seal of approval by Commander Bernard Thompson, naval regional command northern England.

After the opening ceremony, the 17 St Antony's cadets travelled to the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth where they went out in power boats on the Solent, toured Nelson's flagship HMS Victory, completed a Royal Navy assault course and visited the Royal Navy Museum Action Stations for an interactive experience of what life has been like in the Navy since its formation under Henry VIII to the present day.

Commander Bernard Thompson said: “The St Antony's Navy CCF is part of a nationwide expansion programme using the fines arising from the LIBOR misdemeanours and designated by Government for the armed services and there is no better investment than our youth, not just for recruitment in the future, but to give our young people, their families, their friends and all those they associate with a sense of the ethos of the Navy and the common values we share.”

The opening ceremony saw the Royal Navy Cadets take centre stage during a parade led by the contingent commander and teacher, Lt Gavin Parker, who said: “Every teacher recognises the need to develop the whole child, however, it can be difficult, in the current climate, to find mechanisms with which to offer good character development.

Headteacher Fiona Wright said: “These young people will increasingly be working in a world of automation where robots do many of the tasks done by their parents' generation.

"We want to imbue them with those human characteristics of resilience, initiative, leadership, team work and loyalty that will be invaluable in whatever they do in the future and are synonymous with the Royal Navy.”