Scouts honour 100 yearsBy Fergus McEwan
August 17, 2012
A CENTURY of fun and friendship among Guildford’s 1st Normandy Scouts was celebrated at a centenary party.
The occasion on July 7 attracted 250 people, including the group’s current Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts and leaders, plus dozens of former members from the 1940s to the present day. The visitors, some aged in their 80s, travelled from across the UK.
They saw a commemorative plaque unveiled by 1st Norm-andy’s youngest Beaver and oldest former Cub, and looked at an exhibition of photographs and souvenirs charting the group’s history. The exhibition was organised by Dorothy Towner, chairman of the group’s executive committee.
Mrs Towner is compiling a book about the history of 1st Normandy Scout Group, due to be released at the end of the year but which, following the party, already has orders for 50 copies.
She said: “During my research I’ve spoken to many former members about their memories of scouting in Norm-andy, and received mementos they kept from overseas trips while they were in the group. It has been fascinating gaining such an insight into our history and realising that scouting has played such an important part in so many people’s lives.
“The fathers and grandfathers of some of our current members were scouts here themselves. They have retained a strong family link with the group, which is very much a part of the local community.”
The guest of honour, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Dame Sarah Goad, gave a speech in which she praised the longevity of the group and highlighted the benefits of scouting for youngsters now and when they grow up.
Guests enjoyed a hog roast and took part in a tombola and raffle. They also donated towards the group’s fundraising drive to generate £40,000 for a new toilet block and kitchen in its hut. So far, the scouts have raised about £10,000 and are applying for various grants, but they welcome any support.
One of the guests was retired Metropolitan Police officer Bernard Crooke, from Woking. He and Robert Watson, who became 1st Normandy’s first recipients of the Queen’s Scout Award in 1956, were reunited at the party.
The 73-year-old said: “Being in the scouts was brilliant. We were one of the top groups in the area and won trophies in all kinds of things. The things I learnt there put me in good stead for life and got me into the police. I’ve got lots of lovely memories of 1st Normandy and it was wonderful to talk about them with old friends.”
To donate to 1st Normandy’s fundraising drive, call Dorothy Towner on 01483 811161, or email email@example.com.