The Group recorded a uniformed membership of 225 for the Scout Association Census at the end of January. In February Steve Lywood and Andy McLaren were presented with their Wood badge at a District Presentation evening, whilst Nikki Benge received her 25 years Long Service Award. The newly named Twickenham Academy (Whitton School) was again the venue for OUR SHOW, this production celebrating its 60th year. This was a wonderful achievement for the Group, and the show must rank among the longest running of any Gang Shows, County, District or Group, in the world. The show was critically acclaimed as truly celebrating this significant milestone in its history. Cameron Howes, Hiten Patel, Matthew Grew, Ronak Shah, and Elijah Lewis, all Bird Troop, gained their Chief Scout Gold Award. The HQ was entirely rewired for Health and Safety reasons. Tim Furze (Group Chairman) received his 20 year Long Service Award. In the late Autumn John Goddard resigned as Group Scout Leader after serving 10 years distinguished service in the role. His service and that of his wife Gail were recognised in presentations to them at the Annual Group Carol Sing-along in December. Four of the Group’s members passed away during the year, Ben Crosby, Geoff Stunt, John Northey, and Gemma Harrison all are gone but not forgotten.
The Group began to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of its existence. A new Group Scout Leader was appointed. Sonya Grebot, an experienced Leader and a parent of boys in the Group commenced her service in the role at the beginning of the year. Our Show 2011 began the celebrations with a special 75th birthday edition of the show in April at Twickenham Academy. Sadly Jack Seaton, an Honorary Group Member and a long-time supporter of Gang Shows, ours in particular, passed away. A hugely successful 75th Celebratory Family Camp took place on the weekend of 20th May at Walton Firs where well over 100 members of our group’s families camped and enjoyed a programme of varied activities in near perfect conditions. J. Krohn, L O’Sullivan, M Ladhu and T Holloway gained their Chief Scout Silver Award as Cubs, whilst Beavers Daniel Prince, Solomon Scott, Connall Ryan, Toby Bass, Thomas Clarke, Oscar Barnes gained the Chief Scout Bronze Award. The World Scout Jamboree took place in Sweden, David Gilbert attended as a Leader and our representatives, Josh Grebot, Jonathan Mashford, Hannah Gilbert and Cameron Howes, all returned with great tales to tell. The Headquarters also took part in the celebrations with a complete refit of its kitchen and the Beaver Colonies room. Long Service Awards were gained by Sharon Tiney (25 years), Guy Harrison (20 years), Sarah English and Shirley Kent (5 years). The 75th celebrations continued with a Dinner Dance on the 15th October at the Winning Post, and the year concluded with our annual Carol Sing-along on December 19th at the HQ.
Our Show 2012 took place at Easter at the Richmond Academy the last at this venue as the building were to be demolished and rebuilt. The show itself was once again a great success but with ever decreasing cast number, particularly at Scout age the whole question of whether it to continue was a viable prospect once again was up for discussion. In May as part of her Jubilee celebrations the Queen paid a visit to Richmond Park where several of our younger members and leaders were invited to attend the parade. On 10th June a small number of the Group’s ex-London Gang Show cast were invited to appear at the Birmingham Hippodrome joining in with representatives of 23 shows from across the UK to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the London Gang Show. In June the tri-annual Richmond upon Thames Scout District “Twickeree” took place, the theme to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. There was great representation from all sections of the Group and the highlight was the “Street Party” on the Sunday when many families gathered to enjoy the food on offer. July saw the three Cub Packs away at camp. The Yellow & White Packs combined to camp at Bentley Copse. Their Olympic theme was enhanced by the visit of one of the real Olympic torches. Green Pack also celebrate the London event at Normandy campsite. The Bird Troop camped at Gilwell Park and the Animal Troop at Budden’s Scout Centre in Dorset. Father and Son camp was enthusiastically attended again with a JubOlmpic Command theme. The Beaver colonies all enjoyed their traditional mix of outings, day camp and Sleepover. It was with sadness we mourned the loss of Michael Hurll, son of our first Group Chairman, Fred. He was part of the group and associated with The London Gang Show and Our Show. He became a well-known and respected TV producer. On a brighter note the Group was pleased to record the marriage of Peter De Boeck (Raan, White Pack) and Melanie. Headquarters improvements this year included re-roofing the flat roof front extension following a serious leak, building cupboards in the Beaver Den, Troop Room and the Explorers Room all in an attempt to create a tidied environment. Some tree work was also carried out. The year ended with the traditional Carol Sing-song at the Headquarters.
An early decision was made about the future of the Our Show series of Group Gang Shows. Apart from the problems of finding a new suitable venue, the worrying decline in scout aged cast numbers also presented a major cause for concern. Therefore it was decided not to go ahead with the 2013 show and so from the rehearsal venue of Nelson School there was just the sound of silence. The Green Pack however made up for it by enjoying a fun packed Winter Activity Weekend this time with real snow. It was with great sadness for the whole of the group family that we learnt of the death on the 26th May of Sonya Grebot, our Group Scout Leader. Sonya had been suffering ill health for some while but true to her great fortitude she steadfastly carried on in the roles she had undertaken just two years before. Sonya had spent a lifetime in Scouting and was only recently awarded the Scout Association’s Meritorious Conduct Medal, which is in the personal gift of Bear Grylls the Chief Scout. The loyalty for Scouting service of a number of our leaders was recognised in the middle of the year, Phil Beal received a Long Service Award for 30 years, while Jenny Middleton received one for 5 years. The Beaver Colonies enjoyed a sleepover at Broadstone Warren while the Bird Troop’s April camp was held in the Ashdown Forest at the Blackland Guide Activity Centre, and their Summer Camp venue was Huish Woods near Taunton. In the midst all of this busyness Steve and Claire Lywood welcomed Oliver a baby brother for Louise and Sophie. On the 1st of October Beavers from the three Colonies took part in the Great Beaver Bounce each boy taking turns on a bouncy castle to raise over £2000 for the Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice charities. A positive end to what had been a difficult year for the Group.
The Annual Group Census was completed and submitted to The Scout Association on time at the end of January. The uniformed total was 231, with 188 young persons and 43 adult leaders. Of the 188, there were 72 Beavers Scouts, 80 Cub Scouts, and 36 Scouts. In 2004 ten years previously the Group’s total membership was 234. In April Carol McBride resigned from her position as Cub Scout Leader (Akela) of White Pack. Carol. In 1988 she joined the Pack as an assistant and took over the role of CSL in 2001, thus she served for 26 years in capacity of an adult leader as well as being part of the wardrobe team for Our shows for the same time. In the absence of a GSL a role which the group has been unable to fill, Nikki Benge continues in her role as Assistant GSL, with David Clay in a supporting role, all assisted by members of the group Executive taking on various tasks as required. The major Group event for 2014 was the Family Camp held at Walton Firs Scout Camp site. On 27th September a brave crew from the Animal Troop Leaders rowed an old lifeboat from the Titanic’s sister ship from Tower Bridge to Richmond in the Great River Race. In doing so they won the class for Vintage boats for 2014. Chris Penson resigned as Cub Scout Leader of the Yellow Pack at the end of December and reverted to the role of Assistant CSL.
Phil Beal who had been an Assistant CSL took over from Chris as Cub Scout Leader of Yellow Pack. Earliest activity this year fell to the Green Pack who visited Bears Wood Scout campsite , South Croydon for their Winter Camp in the freezing cold. Everyone enjoyed the experience.
Bird Troop visited the Houses of Parliament during Spring half term and impressed the guide with their knowledge of British History and Constitution. Matthew Keigthley ex-member of the Group gained a Silver Gilt Award at the Chelsea Flower show for his garden design requested by Prince Harry for his charity ”Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability” . Yellow Pack visited Wild Wood for a good day out, while Lakes and Rivers went aboard the “Thames Venturer” moored at Teddington Lock and enjoyed a very interesting talk about life on board. Bird Troop had the honour of carrying the Richmond upon Thames Scout District St Georges flag at the annual St Georges parade.
This year the 2nd Whitton Scout year celebrated its 80th Anniversary. The Group was registered at the Imperial Scout Association Headquarters as No. 18351 on the 9th December 1936. In March, the Beaver Colonies raised £2508.79p for the local Children’s Hospice Charity, the Shooting Star Chase. They hired a bouncy castle for the evening and the Beavers were sponsored by their families and friends on how many bounces they could do in one minute. Although not intentionally to celebrate 80 years, the Lakes and Rivers Beaver Colonies have begun to create a record breaking haul of the Chief Scout Bronze Awards. So far this year they have gained a total of 38 Chief Scout Bronze Awards. What a wonderful weekend under canvas for our 230 members, children and adults who took part in the 80th Anniversary Family Camp. Walton Firs Activity Centre hosted the event on the weekend of 21st/22nd of May. The organisation was superb and the weather perfect enabling all to participate in a wide variety of activities during both days. The catering team performed wonders in feeding the multitude with Full Monty breakfasts and an excellent menu of main meals. All comments following the camp were of the most positive kind and there has been a surge in numbers on the waiting list as the word has spread about what a great “Second to None” outfit the 2nd Whitton Scout Group is. This year has seen a number of significant Anniversaries in the Scouting world. Apart from our own 80th anniversary, Cub Scouting celebrated 100 years of their existence with a District camp, Beaver Scouts also celebrated an Anniversary of 30 years with a Colony party in October, whilst Greater London South West Scout County had been in existence for 50 years. On Saturday 1st October the Group further celebrated its 80th Anniversary with a Dinner at “The Ship” Hotel in Weybridge. The dinner was attended by around 60 members of the Group’s family from way back in time and down through the ages of our history. A great evening was had by all and there was many walks down memory lane including a Sing-a-Long of some well- loved “Our Show “ melodies. The annual Carol Sing-song once again devised by Colin Attree one of our Group Vice-Presidents, concluded the events celebrating the Group’s 80th year when we paid tribute and bid a fond farewell to Adrian Monk a long serving Leader of the Animal troop.
Following the very hectic 80th year Celebrations of the previous year the section of the Group might be forgiven for indulging in a more sedate 12 months of scouting activities. But, not so, for Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers were soon “out and about” doing what they enjoy most – fulfilling the Out in Scouting! The census for 2017 revealed that the Group totalled 221 uniformed members (193 young people comprising 60 Beavers, 94 Cubs, and 39 Scouts, with 28 adult leaders). The Lakes & Rivers Beaver Colonies continue to take part in numerous activities both at the HQ and further afield. The older boys and girls had their Annual Sleepover at Broadstone Warren once again followed by The Day Camp and a Sleepover at Normandy for a few who missed the previous one. In addition Yellow Pack held their summer camp once more at Bentley Copse and paddle boarded at Thames Young Mariners, cleared rubbish from Twickenham Cemetery, and took part in the District Cub Day at Gilwell. Green Pack once more camped at 1st Normandy for their Summer Camp and had a Winter Camp at Earley Wood, Ascot. The following were recognized for their services to Scouting and the Group in particular. Tim Furze (Group Chairman) was awarded the Scout Association’s Silver Acorn for services rendered to the Group over a number of years. and Mary Turner (ASL Bird Troop and Wardrobe mistress for Our Show over many years) received the Long Service Award for 40 years dedicated service. Finally on a very sad note to end the year we mourned the passing of Dr Marian Fisher (nee Goold). Marian was firstly a Cub Instructor then Assistant Cub Leader. She was a regular member of the cast of Our Show and appeared in the London Gang Show when girls first joined the cast. The year closed with the traditional Carol Sing Song, now renamed 220 Ho Ho Ho. The HQ was filled to capacity and Group truly celebrated Christmas together, once again enjoying Colin Attree’s varied programme and the Sections contributions.
During the year the Animal Troop Leader Team lost the services of Christian Dietrich who moved away, but Alan Stacey stepped in to fill the gap. Mark Harrison and Richard Young were presented with their Wood Badges and Andy McLaren received a Long Service Award for 30 years with the Animal Troop. The troop came 9th in the District Cooking Competition and took 3rd place in the Scout Section of the District Shooting Competition. The Animals also enjoyed a Water weekend at Thames Young Mariners and held their Summer Camp in the Cotswolds with a visit to the Cheddar Gorge. Similarly the Bird Troops’ year was packed full of adventure. Their Summer Camp took them to the Cranham Scout Activity Centre in Gloucester where they enjoyed great weather and many different activities. One of the Bird Troop’s team won the District Day Prowl competition. Towards the year’s end Stephen Lywood stepped down as Scout leader of the Birds after many years in that position, he will continue as an instructor. Josh Wallis took up the reins as the troop’s new Scout Leader. The teams entered a team for the District Day Prowl and also enjoyed a water weekend at the Thames Young Mariners. Green and Yellow Packs camped at their now traditional sites Greens at 1st Normandy HQ and Yellows at Bentley Copse Scout Campsite. The Packs joined together with a party to celebrate 100 years of Cub Scouting. Green Pack held their winter camp at Walton Firs Activity Centre, Cobham. Yellow Pack raised funds for Children in Need and Red Nose Day early in the year. The group lost one of its most dedicated supporters when Gwladys Bailey died. Gwladys was a Jumblie (helped at all our Jumble Sales) and helped all the Group’s fund raising events. She was truly an ace supporter. There were more awards for two of our long serving and dedicated Leaders. David Clay (Assistant Group Scout Leader and ASL Bird Troop was awarded the Scout Association Bar to the Silver Acorn, whilst Nikki Benge (Assistant Group Scout leader and Beaver Leader for Lakes & Rivers) was awarded the Scout Association Silver Acorn. Another capacity crowd enjoyed the Traditional 220 Ho Ho Ho to round off another successful year for the 2nd Whitton Scout Group.