Harrogate Sea Cadets name new boat in memory of much-loved cadet, Laura

Laura's mum, Anne Izitt, with the Chairman of the Harrogate Sea Cadets, Mike Langford, with Commanding Officer Michelle Blackburn, Abi Langford, and fellow cadets and supporters.
Laura's mum, Anne Izitt, with the Chairman of the Harrogate Sea Cadets, Mike Langford, with Commanding Officer Michelle Blackburn, Abi Langford, and fellow cadets and supporters.

The Harrogate Sea Cadets have movingly named a boat in memory of much-loved cadet, Laura Izitt, whose zest for life and determination has created a truly inspirational legacy.

Sea cadets gathered at Ripon Sailing Club on Sunday to unveil the Laura Aye, and share fond memories of their much-missed friend, who lost her battle with cancer two years ago, at the age of 19.

Paying tribute to her best friend in a speech by the lakeside, Abi Langford smiled as she remembered all the good times they shared through the Sea Cadets. Abi said she hopes all who sail on the boat will remember Laura's determination and high spirits.

She said: "Laura was amazing, just always smiling, and always friendly. She was very well-liked, and I like to think that anyone who sails on the boat is following in Laura's legacy."

Laura's mum Anne baked a special cake for the occasion, and sprinkled a bottle of Harrogate Spring Water over the boat as part of the naming ceremony.

Anne said: "Laura would love all this, she'd be strutting around like a peacock, she'd be very proud. It's a nice way of remembering her, it's very apt. She must have made an impression on everybody."

Laura made a huge contribution to the day-to-day life of the Sea Cadets in so many ways - from playing in the unit band, to being promoted to an Able Cadet, Laura led by example and made a real impact.

Commanding Officer Michelle Blackburn, said: "Laura thrived in the Sea Cadet environment. She had a smile that would light up a room, and every cadet she met remembered her for her kindness.

"Laura really was one in a million, and will be missed by not only the cadets and volunteers at Harrogate Sea Cadets, but by the Sea Cadet Corps as a whole.

"Even after becoming ill, Laura would come to the unit and help the future piping teams to practice, even when she received her terminal diagnosis."

Laura joined the Sea Cadets just before her 12th birthday. Her warm and bubbly personality meant she made friends easily wherever she went with the unit.

She played the drum in the unit band, represented Harrogate in two national competitions, and played her saxophone as part of the Massed Band of the Sea Cadets - one such parade included a Buckingham Palace garden party visit as part of Cadet 150.

Abi's mum, Frances Langford, said: "Laura lived for the day. Everyone respected her and liked her, she was so positive about life. I think she'd be very touched by the boat being named after her."

The Chairman of the Harrogate Sea Cadets, Mike Langford, said: "We really appreciated the support given to us by Ripon Sailing Club for allowing us to use their clubhouse, and our thanks go to the Rev John Smith and the Rev Abbie Palmer of St Robert's Church in Pannal for conducting the naming ceremony."

The naming ceremony was followed by a 24 hour sailing challenge to raise funds for the Sea Cadets, organised by Dan Wilding.