Conscious that Britain is a seafaring nation, Julian takes a close interest in maritime affairs and is proud to have the working port of Whitstable in the constituency.
Julian was elected Co-Chairman of the All Political Party Group for Maritime and Ports and served for four years before standing down to focus on his Ministerial portfolio in July 2014. The group brought together speakers from industry and government into Parliament to discuss the present and future challenges and opportunities of the shipping, ports, and maritime services as a whole, with a particular emphasis on discussing issues that are on the horizon. Previous areas of focus have included the vulnerability of GPS systems, the ability of E-Loran to support shipping, the potential threat of cyber-attacks to ports and shipping, and how the Royal Navy is dealing with piracy. The group was actively involved in publishing material and wrote to the Department for Transport in the summer of 2014 to raise awareness of the harm that compliance with new sulphur emission targets coming into force on the 1st of January 2015 will have on businesses. In addition to the work in this group, Julian was at the forefront of the opposition to the watering down of safety standards on the River Thames, under the last government.
In line with his strong interest in supporting our youth, Julian Brazier has been the President of Canterbury Sea Cadets since 2011 and has enjoyed several visits to the Whitstable Sea Cadets.
One of Julian’s proudest achievements from his time with the Sea Cadets was to be at the grand opening of Canterbury Sea Cadets’ new centre in Vauxhall Road. It was opened by Admiral Lord West, former head of the Royal Navy, who as a young Captain had a ship shot away from under him in the Falklands – and he was the last man to leave it.
After 5 years of fund raising and planning, Julian and a dedicated team raised £360,000 to see it happen. It was a colossal challenge but one that brought a strong community spirit. The architect, James Clague gave many thousands of pounds of free professional time; the project managers Stephen Taylor and Stephen Usher, worked wholly unpaid; and Provian (part of the Brett group), built it at cost. Thanks to that fabulous team and the generous donors, including Canterbury City Council who gave us the site and a £25,000 grant, we got a really great building which will last for generations.
When the building was finished, Julian was very proud to see the kids on parade, with the Herne Bay Sea Cadet band. There was something very moving about seeing those enthusiastic young faces on parade with a truly remarkable Admiral. Julian hopes that the fun, camaraderie, and discipline that the Cadets experience will benefit them for a lifetime, and perhaps even produce another great Admiral.
Already lots of youngsters from the neighbouring estate have joined since they heard about the opportunities for everything from canoeing to sail training to hill walking. The new building will also provide a great communal facility for the Vauxhall and Poets Estates – two of the most deprived areas in Kent.
It has been a privilege to be part of this for so long, as their president. If you would like to help or perhaps serve on the committee please contact our chairman, Mrs. Jo Rohan on 07925 144037.
The webpage of Canterbury Sea Cadets can be found at: http://www.sea-cadets.org/canterbury/home.aspx