"The Diamond Decade"

Scout HQ announced the opening up of Scout Association membership to girls in all sections as from January 1st 1991. Groups were asked to take a policy decision on this during the year. Keith Willoughby became Akela of White Pack. White Pack beat Greens in the Final of the Cub football competition. Yellow Pack won the 6-a-side and Cub Sports. In the “Go for a million” project. Peter Hawken and the Owls patrol (Bird Troop) organised “a Millionaires Banquet” on the roof of Baden Powell House and abseiled down after it. The Venture Unit attended the International Camp, London Venture, at Crystal Palace. Animal Troop visited the South of France to attend an organised adventure camp. The Venture Unit also travelled to the South of France to Liacous.

Steve Bellman retired as SL of the Animal Troop at the end of 1990. Gwen English left her role as BL of Woodlands and was succeeded by Carol Corti. Fred Hurll died on the 1st January this year. He was Chief Executive Officer of the Scout Association. To 2nd Whitton he was our Group Chairman, later Group President, and the inspiration behind Our Shows, drawn from his life-long friendship with Ralph Reader, creator of Gang Shows. The 40th production of Our Show took place in Easter week. At the Group AGM Daniel Soutar was presented with the Queen’s Scout Award (First since 1989). Lucy Bunyon and Peter Hawken received Duke of Edinburgh awards and Explorer Belts were presented to Colin Carswell and Daniel Soutar, the first in the District. White Pack won the 11-a-side and 6-a-side Football competitions. Yellows won the 5-asides and Sports.

The Scout Association launched its Promise Appeal, to attempt to raise £10 million or the development of Scouting throughout the country. The Group commenced its fundraising by purchasing Promise badges for all members to wear through the year. Due to the demand for places in the Beaver section, a third Colony, the Lakes was started on a Tuesday evening. On 14 June Elsie Hurll opened the “Fred Hurll” rooms comprising a Venture Unit room and a Troop room a valuable asset for our very large Group. The Venture Unit won the Best Girls team prize at the National Sedan Chair rally. Nigel Hawken gained the Queen’s Scout Award. The Medal of Merit was presented to Robin Corti (VSL and ADC Venture scouts) and Mike Beal (Group Chairman). Lucy Bunyon and Kenneth Carswell attended the World Scout Jamboree in Korea.

Group membership totalled 320 compared with 324 in 1992. Six Members of the Venture Unit completed the Queen’s Scout Award being Mark Harrison, Kate Hendry, Emma Croutcher, Amanda Corti and Mark Elgar. Robin Corti relinquished his post as VSL. Neale and Kathy McLaren retired as Nulli Secundus editors. Matthew King refurbished the HQ toilets and Jim McBride designed the buildings of Whitton mural and with help painted it on the Hospital Bridge Road footbridge over the railway. This Colour in the Community Award was sponsored by Dulux Paints. The Group won the Area 4 award and were presented with a plaque by Dulux.

John Goddard took over as Akela of White Pack from Keith Willoughby. Total Group membership was 308. Our local Guides were invited and took part in Our Show ’94 and contributed greatly to the performances. Seven of the Group’s leaders, along with their other halves, produced offspring during the year. The Group wore badges of the Scout Association Unite Appeal, a project to help the young people of Uganda. who through their Scout Association are fighting the scourge of AIDS. The Group took the difficult step of closing the Hunter Troop which could not be sustained due to falling numbers. Bill ‘Eagle’ Summerfield (first Rover and Senior Air scout Leader) died, one of Ralph Reader’s original London Gang Show boys, Bill did much to maintain the high standards of the production of Our Shows. The Group took part in the Whitton Carnival procession and the Twickeree camp. The total number of camping nights this year exceeded 1,000. David Clay and Pete Turner were awarded the Medal of Merit. Rachel Benge gained the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. The 2nd Whitton 100 Club was started. The Group was chosen earlier in the year by the Scout Association to take part in The Today and Tomorrow Project, to find out the public’s opinion of scouting today.

Group membership stood at 310 at the end of January. 25% of the Group took part in Our Show ’95. For the first time the Group advertised in Nulli Secundus for a paid cleaner of the HQ. Spring saw the launch of the HQ re-building fund. The scouts enjoyed a god trip to Bethesda. Queens Scouts were now able to wear their badges for all time. The Group took part in the VE Celebrations on Chestnut Sunday in Bushy Park. Paul Clay and Stephen Furze attended the World Scout Jamboree in Holland. Sadly later in the year Pat Williams former GSL and Group Vice-President passed away. David Catt-Camfield became a Vice-President of the Group.

The Group celebrated its Diamond Anniversary throughout the year. The Uniformed members all wore a special badge to mark the occasion. Two events took place in January, the first being a surprise “This is your Life “ for Group Scout Leader Geoff Benge in the Edmund Kean Theatre on the Saturday, followed by a Thanksgiving Service for the life of Pat Williams, former GSL and Vice-President in St Augustine’s Church on the Sunday. Many old Group families and members returned for these two events. A new Beavers badge scheme commenced. Group membership total stood at 320. Our Show celebrated the Group’s 60th year and further events during the spring included a Car Rally and a trip to Lego land with 269 going in 4 buses. Over 140 attended the Diamond Family Camp, where there was a giant cake and torchlight procession to the Campfire. During the autumn a Group photo was taken and on the weekend of 23/24 November a Diamond Anniversary Dinner & Dance was held on Saturday, followed by a Thanksgiving Service at St Augustine’s for the life of the Group on the Sunday. Carol Corti stood down as BL of Woodlands Colony at Christmas, Deirdre McConnell took over as BL.

A total of £8173.26 was now held in the HQ Re-building Fund. The Jubilee Committee was replaced by a Millennium Committee to continue to raise funds for the HQ. Mike Beal retired as Group Chairman. Paul Brown was appointed AGSL. Current membership stood at 311. The Venture Unit retained the Raft Race title. The Cub Packs were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the District Sports again. Malcolm Baker and Ian Taylor formed a new QM team. The Group camped together at Twickeree in June. Amanda Corti married Mark Harrison. Ron Bunyon moved from the area to Cornwall after 25 years warranted service, he was presented with a Master Mind bowl engraved with a Scout badge.

Dave Sparling with his wife Val retired as Leaders of Yellow Pack. Dave was the first Akela of Yellow Pack when they were started. Chris Penson became the new leader of the pack. Keith Davis took over as leader of the Venture Unit, and Andy McLaren leader of Animal troop. Dave Field and Mary Turner both of Bird Troop received the Medal of Merit, whilst John Goddard received the Chief Scout’s Commendation for Good Services. The Queen’s Scout award was attained by Kelvin Jousiffe, Russell Bray, Lee Hawkes, Chris English and Steve Lywood. 50 dads and sons camped at Hammerwood for the annual Father and Son Camp. Keith Bray won the Most Twisted Screw award for the 3rd year running! Ken Pallett began a series about astronomy in Nulli Secundus. Early in the year a decision was taken not to re-build the HQ. Instead it would be refurbished being structurally sound. During the summer months the HQ was rewired for heating, lighting and electrics. The main hall re-roofed and re-floored, the walls insulated and clad within, and the kitchen refitted. The work was completed and the re-furbished Headquarters was opened by Derek Twine, Chief Executive Commissioner of the Scout Association on Sunday 29th November. Those responsible for the work included Keith Bray (Project manager), Andy Bartlett, Russell Bray, Colin Peters, and Tim Furze.

In January the Group membership totalled 288. Rachel Benge (ABL) wrote to the producers of BBC’s ‘Real Rooms’ and in Easter week the HQ Committee Room received a makeover from the programme’s team. Members of the Group rose to the occasion and took part in many filmed activities. All this took place in the week of Our Show ‘99. To mark the end of the holding of Jumble Sales as part of the Group’s fund-raising two dozen of the Two Whit Jumblies enjoyed a coffee morning and were presented with certificates to mark the occasion.

I want the public to know how Scouting continues to open young people’s eyes to a world of extraordinary promise and possibilities.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls