The 50th annual production of Our Show took place in the Edmund Keane Theatre in Easter week. The total of one hundred King and Queen’s Scouts presented to the Group since its formation was recognised as a UK record by the Guinness Books of Records. In October David Gilbert was awarded the Medal of Merit on stage at the SouWest Gang Show. Alan Bellman long-time supporter of the Group died on Christmas Eve. Phil Beal gave up his role as Akela, Green Pack and Jan Furze took over the role. On 31st December Geoff Benge retired as Group Scout Leader after holding the position for 12 Years
From January 1st John Goddard took over as Group Scout Leader of the 2nd Whitton Scout Group. Group membership stood at 284 at the end of January, the third largest in the country. On March 24th the Group gathered at Nelson School to pay tribute to the service Geoff Benge had given as GSL. He was made an Honorary Scouter of the Association and created Life President of the Group. He and his wife Margaret were presented with a wall clock. Changes to the national uniform began to be phased in. Kelvin Jousiffe took over as Venture Scout Leader. Twickenham and Richmond Scout Districts merged to become Richmond upon Thames Scout District. Chris English attended the World Scout Moot in Mexico.
All uniformed members wore a commemorative badge throughout the year to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Group Membership total was 269. Animal Troop joined an International Camp in Normandy, France at Whitsun, whilst Bird Troop camped in the Forest of Dean in August. A Group Family Camp was held at Bentley Copse in September. 170 people from 50 families joined in what was a very successful weekend. The new scout programme was implemented throughout the Group. The Beavers and Cubs started on the new badge system introduced for them. The existing Scouts and Venture Scout section were split into three, being Scouts, Explorer Scout and the Scout Network. The Explorer Scout unit will be under District management but hosted by our Scout Group. They are named the Scotts after Robert Falcon Scott the Polar explorer. The Network up to 25 years of age is to be run by the County. The new Scout District/County badges designed by Nikki Benge became available for all to wear. At Christmas and the New Year Andrew Clay, Wendy Lywood and Aiden Robinson represented Group/ District /County and Country at the World Jamboree in Thailand. Steve Lywood attended as a leader.
At the end of January Group membership was 240. Our Show 2003 rightly celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Reader in the Edmund Keane theatre at Richmond Tertiary College. Robert Middleton gained the Queen’s Scout Award and became the Group’s 100th holder of the badge. Carol Hawkes married Jim McBride in April. Green Pack held a Family Camp at Downe in Kent. White Pack won the District 6–a-side league. Perry Abi-Elias (Animals) represented GLSW in the Scout National Shooting Competition. Perry was 2nd in his age group and the County came 3rd. Twickeree 2003 was held in Marble Hill Park.
Group membership totalled 234 still by far the largest Scout Group in the District. Bird troop won the District Volleyball competition. 24 of the cast of Our Show performed their “World in Union” item at the Twickenham Rugby Ground in a reception to give the freedom of the borough to Laurence Dallaglio, Jason Leonard and Joe Worsley, three of England’s World cup winning squad. White pack won the District Cub sports. Some of the Scotts went on an expedition to Nepal. Animal troop were victorious in the District Air Rifle competition. Tim Walker received his Queen’s Scout Award and along with Martin Furze, Aidan Robinson, Alex Gill and Matt Kearns attained their Explorer Belts. Alexander Judge became the first Beaver to gain all the badges possible at the time.
Group membership was 258 plus 37 Scott Explorers. Geoff Benge was awarded the Scout Association’s highest award, the Silver Wolf, the first in the Group to receive this honour. In addition he received his 50 year service award. David Clay was awarded the Silver Acorn, while Nikki Benge, Chris Penson, John Goddard, Tim Furze and Sue de Boeck all received the Medal of Merit. The Scotts took part in 5 camps and expeditions this year being a May camp, G24 (24 hours non-stop event at Gilwell Park), Paragliding and a summer camp in Spain. White pack won the district sports and swimming gala.
Early in the year Jan Furze stood down as Akela, Green Pack and Dave Gilbert, her ACSL, took over as Cub Scout Leader of the section. Group membership was 254 plus 33 Scott Explorers. Early in the year Alex Gill gained the Queen’s Scout Award. The Group total of 101 Queen’s scout made the Guinness Book of Records. The Animal troop won the District 5-a-side football. During the year Dave Sparling (first Akela of Yellow pack) and ‘Toos’ McNamara (long-time supporter) passed away. In June the group attended Twickeree at Marble Hill Park. Peter Hawken emigrated to Australia. The Scott Explorer leader team will be led by returning Chris English assisted by Steve Furze, Greg Park, and Sarah English. Jenny Riordan and Peter de Boeck were awarded their Queen’s Scout Award certificates by the Chief Scout Peter Duncan
Celebrating 100 years of Scouting! Group Membership stood at 252, plus 33 Scott Explorers. Our Show celebrated Scouting’s centenary and 75 years of Gang Shows at Whitton School. Sadly, in May, Stuart Wise (Group Vice-President) passed away, later in the year Jack McLaren (Group vice-president), and Steve Thornton (Group Auditor) also died. Mary Turner was awarded the Silver Acorn. Bird troop won the District Air Rifle Competition. For their summer camps both scout troops camped at the District Centenary Camp at Phasel’s Wood, some Beavers slept-over and a coach took many other uniformed members of the Group to visit. Cameron Shilstone (Bird troop), James Gilbert, and Jonathan Hambrey (Scott Explorers) represented the Group at the 21st World Jamboree held at Chelmford, Essex. Alex Gill took part in the Scouting Development project in Malawi. All witnessed, on large screens, the Sunrise Ceremony from Brownsea Island. During the year Sarah Clay married Chris English, Paul Clay married Claire and Steve Lywood married another Claire. In September 15 of the Group’s Royal scouts attended a GLSW gathering.
Jonathan Mashford was successfully nominated for a “Jack Petchy Award” medal and donated his £300 prize towards the cost of new Group trailer. White Pack were joint 1st in the District Cub Challenge. A number of leaders received Service Awards during the year, they included; Mark and Amanda Harrison (15 years), Nikki Benge, Andrew McLaren, Carol McBride, Chris Penson and Sharon Tiney (20 years), John Goddard, Adrian Monk, and Christine Gilbert (25 years), and Sue de Boeck, David Clay and Mary Turner (30 years). Elsie Hurll and Peter McNamara, both great supporters of the Group, died. Peter Hawken (ex Scott Explorer leader) married, and Neil Hawkes (White pack) married and moved to Dorset. At the Carol Sing-Song, Colin Attree (Our Show and Carol Sing-Song musical director) was made a Vice-President of the Group.
In March White Pack won the District Cub Challenge. The 59th performance of Our Show was presented at Whitton School in Easter week. Jack Seaton reviewed the show as excellent. At the District St Georges Parade, Carol McBride (Akela, White Pack) was presented with the Chief Scout’s Commendation for good service. The Animal troop camped at Broadstone Warren and the Beavers had a sleepover at Runway’s End. Bear Grylls was named as Chief Scout designate and would take over from Peter Duncan in July. The Bird Troop enjoyed a trip on the Thames on board Jubilant, a Royal Shallop. In June all sections of the Group took part in Twickeree 2009 in Marble Hill Park.