After the War was over

Scouts, during the wars, had been allocated various roles in the field of Civil Defence – fire fighting etc.  It was to this end that we had formed a War Service Patrol from the older boys.  During 1945, Eddie Perkins joined the Group and formed these older boys into a Senior Scout Section and, as our boys were reluctant to leave us, in 1946 Stuart Manning started the Rover Crew.  The Cub Pack too got underway again with Joyce Sutton becoming Akela – thus we started the post war years with a complete family.

It was also during 1946 that Chief, in his capacity as General Sunday School Superintendent, organised a Sunday School trip by narrow boat to Kerridge with the scouts going along to provide refreshments.  It was on that trip that the youngest scholar, perched on the front of the leading boat conceived an ambition that fifteen years later would be realised.

In 1947 we held our twenty first birthday celebrations and there were many cubs who were guided through their Tenderpad test so that they could have their uniforms for the event by our recent import and grand old man of the Group – Skip Blackwell.  The celebrations were a great success and the main hall of the Sunday School was packed.  This period was one of immense activity and achievement – at one point we had eight boys with the King’s Scout Badge.  We were moved from Stockport to Cheadle District and our Parent’s Committee, following a week’s continuous rain at Borth in 1949, provided us with a Marquee – quite a unique accomplishment in those days.

We entered the fifties full of optimism – the Cubs in 1951 held a camp at Aspenshaw and the Scouts held the first of what were to be many camps at Tal-y-bont.  Then, just when things looked so favourable, we ran into a very bad patch.  The death of Chief in 1953 coincided with a movement of Scouts out of the area and the opening of the 3rd Hazel Grove Group.  Our new leaders struggled on but without assistant leaders and with dwindling membership, it was a daunting task and the continuity of training and tradition was lost.  The Seniors, Rovers and Parent’s Committee ceased effectively to exist and the number of boys in the Troop fell to a handful – such were conditions that the District Commissioner issued orders for the Group to be closed.  Fortunately the Assistant District Commissioner, Alf Moston, who was to have perpetrated the deed, pleaded for a stay of execution.  But, things were desperate, and it was then that Michael Vernon a seventeen year old, the son of our founder, started to lead the Troop.

The bright side of this gloomy period, and possibly the main reason for the A.D.C.’s charity, was the Wolf Cub Pack.  Akela, Ken Mackreth Senior, together with his parent helpers had the necessary authority and ability to control a large Pack and win their affection.  Mike Vernon  well remembers attending one Pack meeting in the Junior Room and being so astounded by the numbers present that he was led to count them – there were over sixty.

It was because of the large numbers of boys coming from Pack to Troop that, despite the large drop-out rate, generated to some extent by Mike’s inexperience, enough remained to gradually build up our strength again.   By the end of the fifties, all four sections were growing again and the Parent’s Committee, then called Group Council was back in operation.

More soon…..

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