The 1980s

In 1981, Jim Hill (Kim) announced that he would be retiring from the role of Group Scout leader GSL and there was a mixture of sadness that an ‘era’ was ending and of gratitude for all the work that Jim had put into the Group over the years.  Mike Vernon (Chief) was to take on the Group role and George Sykes (Bosun) agreed to be Mike’s assistant to help him during a period of personal commitments that would make it difficult for Mike to give the time and energy that he wanted to commit to the new Group-wide role.

Mike Vernon (Chief)  wrote in 1981:

“Peter Lambert, known to the boys as ‘Gaffer’, will be taking over as the leader of the Scout Troop.  I started to run the troop in 1957 and took out the warrant as Scout leader in 1960.  As a boy, I was in the Group when it was as big and successful as it is today and I also saw its demise during the 1950s when calls were made for the Group to be closed.  I was privileged to witness it rise again and go from strength to strength, coping with the Scout Association’s reorganisation and the abolition of the Senior and Rover Scout Sections and the creation of the new Venture Units.  

Taking over a section is difficult at any time, it is even more difficult if the previous leader has been in the post for aeons, but Peter Lambert is heading the same team who have given me so much loyalty and support, and for which I am so grateful and proud.  I know that he too will receive the same backing – so go for it Peter with all my best wishes.  Run the troop as you and your leaders want and don’t be afraid to kick out any of Mike Vernon’s ideas that you don’t like.”   

This was a period of especially strong links with the church.  The Group had always been sponsored by The Methodist Church and was affiliated to the Methodist Youth Department (now Methodist Children and Youth).  Our members still wear a yellow Methodist shell badge today.  In the 1980s many of the scouts and girl guides at Wesley Street were also members of the Sunday School, with many of the older ones attending the AIM Group that enjoyed so much success at that time.  Indeed between Sunday school, Scout and Guide meetings and the AIM Youth Club, there were large numbers of young people at Wesley Street on most days of the week.

A new section for younger boys called Beavers was introduced by the Scout Association in the 1980s and so in 1986 Pat Vernon, assisted by Wendy Tonge, started the Beech Beaver Colony and then in 1996 Rose Owen assisted by Judith Sidgwick added Sycamore Beaver Colony to the Group.

At this time our Scout Band played not only for our Church Parades but also for the R.A.F. Battle of Britain Parade, Remembrance Day Parade and the Scout District St George’s Day Parades.

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Howard Martin November 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I was a member from joining Cubs in 1964 to leaving Ventures in 1975 when I went to University. It was nice to see a mention of my Mum, Eva Martin, who was Secretary for more years than I can remember. Favourite camoing experience, the Venture Scout trip to Benbecula in the summer of 1975.