Scouts prepare to mark their centenary in Chipping Sodbury

Scoutmaster Olivia Burges with the original 1st Chipping Sodbury Scout group members

Scoutmaster Olivia Burges with the original 1st Chipping Sodbury Scout group members

First published in News by

A SCOUT group which was started in the year Charlie Chaplin made his film debut and the Tampico Affair took place is marking its centenary this weekend.

Of course, 1914 will be remembered primarily for the start of World War 1 which broke out in August of that year but in May, the 1st Chipping Sodbury Scout group met for the very first time.

The initial meeting was held at The Ridge on May 9 when founder Scoutmaster Miss Olivia Burges taught 11 young boys how to read maps. The troop attended its first district rally at Tortworth in June and after just three meetings, it took first prize in map reading and second prizes in signalling and relay racing.

When the war broke out in August, the young Scouts were tasked with acting as messengers for a regiment based in Chipping Sodbury.

One hundred years on and the group has grown beyond recognition with 200 members aged between six and 18 including girls in two Beaver, two Cub, two Scout and one Explorer units.

David Mullins, who joined as a Cub in 1962 and returned as a leader when his own children joined, said: “It is quite an achievement and we wanted to celebrate it.

“I always really enjoyed being a Scout and I wanted to come back when my children joined.

“We now have waiting lists, some even with babies on.”

“I think it's so popular because of the adventures they have, we do so many different things and different camps and parades.”

He added: “We nurture a lot of children, it’s impossible to say how many over the years, but we know some of them wouldn’t have had holidays if it weren’t for the camps because they just weren’t affordable.

“We have had ladies run jumble sales for us in the past to raise money to make sure some of our members can go on camp.”

The group takes part in Remembrance Day parades every November and is considering reviving its St George’s Day parade in Chipping Sodbury. As well as weekly meetings at its hut on The Ridings, which opened in 1986 and was partly built by prisoners from HMP Leyhill, each unit takes part in events, fundraising and camps.

This Saturday (10.30am) the Scout group will march through Chipping Sodbury from Rounceval Street to the hut on Wickwar Road with some members dressed in original outfits from 1914 and others from the 1950s and 1980s to represent the Scouting movement through the ages.

They will then meet local dignitaries and former leaders and supporters of the group at the Scout hut for the unveiling of a special centenary plaque by Captain Rowlings, the son of Olivia Burges. An exhibition on the history of the group will be open for public viewing until 2pm and all Scouts will renew their promise. A logbook cataloguing the last 100 years of Scouting in Chipping Sodbury will be published later in the year.

The day’s celebrations will be followed by a camp where youngsters can enjoy archery, canoeing, climbing, abseiling, a greasy pole challenge and Scout games from 1914.

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