The commanding officer of the Sea Cadets squadron based at the site of last night’s Wicksteed Park blaze says they’ve “lost everything”.
The fire just after 7pm gutted the park’s boathouse, home to 800 Naval Air Squadron Kettering Sea Cadets.
The Sea Cadets provide opportunities on the water for children from across Northamptonshire, and commanding officer Marc Pether says they are devastated.
He said: “To be honest it’s absolutely devastating, I got a call and it was completely on fire.
“It’s 10 years worth of effort and investment by my team that has gone up in smoke. We’ve lost everything.
“We’ve still got the boats but we’ve lost everything you need to go up and down the water such as sails and rudders.
“Even if we had them we wouldn’t be able to as we lost the safety boat as well, which was worth between £8,000-£10,000 and chained up on the wall.”
But despite the devastation, Mr Pethers still harbours hopes of getting his squadron back to base within the next six months.
He said: “We’ve lost the facility and that’s a big problem.
“In real terms I am aiming to get them back on the water by April 1, 2017.
“We have a good relationship with Wicksteed Park and this is now about going forward.”
The cause of the fire at the 1920s boathouse is not yet known, but it not believed to be suspicious at this stage.