Professional Yacht Cadet Thomas Whiles’s grandfather Douglas Clode spent his working life around boats as a boatman and skipper, and he had followed in the footsteps of his own father, so the family has a maritime background going back a few generations. Douglas and his wife Marilyn attended Thomas’s graduation ceremony and looked on proudly as their grandson was highly praised and the audience were told how his grandfather had inspired him.

Marilyn said: “Thomas has not had an easy time of it with family problems and a lot of heartache but he’s come through it really well, and is now a very mature young man.

“Through the cadetship he has grown up an awful lot, and is much more sociable and outgoing, making friends very easily. He’s doing something he absolutely loves and always wanted to do and is finding it as enjoyable as he hoped it would be. He loves every aspect of it, the good things and the bad things, the weather, and even when things don’t go right he works it out. We are absolutely so proud of him.” ​

thomas whiles