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Sea cadets lend ship's bell for sailor's birthday

By Alan Smith

Maidstone Sea Cadets are the proud custodians at their Masters Towers headquarters in College Road of the ship’s bell from HMS Rocket, a wartime destroyer.

The bell is rung every half an hour throughout parade nights.

But last week, they lent the bell out so that it could be reunited with Oliver “Shiner” Wright, who served abroad the vessel for three years during the war.

'Shiner' Wright with his old ship's bell
'Shiner' Wright with his old ship's bell

The bell made a surprise appearance at a joint birthday given for Shiner and his wife Florrie at St Andrew’s Church in Clevedon, where they now live.

Florrie was born in Maidstone, and Shiner settled in the county town after their wedding - at Maidstone’s All Saints Church - in 1946. They lived in Bower Street until the early 1980s.

Around 100 people attended their joint 90th birthday party.

Borough Cllr David Naghi, who is also chairman of the Maidstone Sea Cadets, drove the bell to Clevedon, to reunite it with its old shipmate.

In return, the couple handed over some photographs and a history of Shiner and his time with HMS Rocket - and a donation - for Cllr Naghi to take back for the cadets’ interest.

Dave Naghi, Shiner and Florrie Wright
Dave Naghi, Shiner and Florrie Wright
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