A History of Scouting in Otford

 

Part One: A Pre-history - 1913 to 1925

Note: Prior to 1928 Scout Groups were not required to be registered centrally with Imperial Headquarters (IHQ). As a result the heritage centre at Gilwell wasn’t able to provide much information about a village Group before that date. The bulk of the information has been gleaned from the archives held by Sevenoaks Library, The British Newspaper Archive and St Barts Church. Thank you also to Ed Thompson who supplied the photographic clue that kick started the research (and subsequent pictures from his archive)

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The first mention of an Otford Troop is on 16th April 1913 at an annual meeting of the Local Boy Scout Association where the shortage of Scout Masters was discussed. They were needed as several Troops, including one at Otford, had been/were being formed. In the early years of The Movement it was not unusual for boys (and girls), having been inspired by BP’s book ‘Scouting for Boys’, to band together as Scouts - often without an adult in charge.The Cornwallis family of Twitton House (Twitton Lane) became great supporters of Scouting in the village, allowing the Troop, who were without their own HQ, to hold their meetings in the rear garden of the family home. On 20th February 1914 Mr Cornwallis presented the new Troop with their colours. They were dedicated by the Rev W.E. Lutyens at a service held at St Barts which closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

The two pictures shown are of Miss Iris Beryl Cornwallis of Twitton House, pictured here in ‘The Tatler' 1911 and ‘The People’ July 1916. She is thought to be one of the first (if not the first), Scout ‘Masters’ at Otford. The second picture was published a week before her marriage to Lt E. H. Lee-Warner of the RFA (Royal Field Artillery). She is known to have been the Scout Master at Otford from at least June 1915 to July 1916 (although it is believed she led the Troop in 1914).

The Troop held regular ‘variety entertainments’ at the village hall; one such evening, held on 18th April 1914, included songs and sketches performed by the Scouts as well as by adult supporters. The evening ended with a Britannia tableau - a popular form of entertainment at the time - with a Miss Janet Wakeman playing the principle part while the Scouts sang ‘Sons of Britain’ (the Boy Scouts marching song), Rule Britannia, and God Save the King. The evening raised £3. 2s. 2d towards the camp fund. One of the Scouts mentioned as taking part - in a sketch called ‘The Monkey Surprises’ - was Cyril Browning, pictured. He was known to have been a Scout from at least April 1914 to January 1916. He performed in several sketches throughout his time in the Troop.

Scout Cyril Browning is pictured second from the right, sitting on the Trek Cart.

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The Sevenoaks Chronicle for the 31st July 1914 reported that the Otford Troop ‘had gone to camp near Wrotham’ and that the Rev W.E. Lutyens accompanied the Scouts to see them ‘comfortably settled in’

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The Otford Troop with Miss Cornwallis;
camping in Addington dated 1914?

In the first few months of WW1 the Scouts, along with thousands of others donated money to the ‘tobacco fund for the military’. Several newspapers ran their own appeals and the Scouts donated to one run by ‘The People’ newspaper. The Scouts raised five shillings, enough to send Servicemen either 500 Woodbine cigarettes and 8oz of Players Navy Cut tobacco (order no. 3) or 700 Woodbine cigarettes (order no. 4) The normal cost if bought from a store wouldhave been 11s. 8d. (left & right; typical tobacco fund advert & the 5 Shilling gift box sent by The People newspaper on behalf of those who donated)

In April 1915 the Scouts continued their support of the war effort by holding a ‘variety entertainment’ in the village hall. The evening was organised by Miss Cornwallis to raise funds for both the Otford Troop and ‘The Blue Cross Fund for Wounded Horses at the Front’. The Scouts sang their marching song, and performed in a sketch ‘The Scold, the Scoundrel and the Scout’. Assisting in the evening were several ladies including Lady Emily Dyke and a Miss Dyke (S.M.) who performed several drum and pianoforte duets . They were joined by Officers and Bombardiers of the 8th Lancs Royal Field Artillery who sang and performed gymnastic displays. The abbreviation (S. M.) after Miss Dyke’s name is usually short hand for Scout Master. The evening finished off with the Boy Scouts presenting a tableau.

On 9th June 1915 the Bishop of Rochester held a confirmation service at St Barts for seventeen candidates. A Guard of Honour was furnished by the Otford Troop of Boy Scouts. They lined the entrance and the porch under the command of Miss Cornwallis. This is the first time that she is mentioned as being the Scout ‘Master’.

Church parade held two months later on the 6th August 1915 - Confirmation that the Otford Troop were known as the 1st

On New Years Eve 1915 Otford Scouts joined with the Shoreham Troop and ‘gave a capital entertainment’ in the Otford Village Hall. Again it was organised by Miss Cornwallis. The hall was reported to be ‘packed to overflowing’. The Scouts sang and again Lady Emily and Miss Dyke performed their drum and piano duet. The first mention of Otford having its own Wolf Cub Pack is found in the newspaper report covering this event. They sang ‘What can a little Chap do?’ The evening finished with a presentation of the tableau ‘The Scout’s Dream.’ The programme was repeated at Shoreham Church room on the 19th January 1916.

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The Rev and Mrs Mayne Young are pictured which dates this photo between 1915-1917

Do you recognise where these pictures were taken?

Taken verbatim from St Barts Parish magazine - Parade; On Sunday 19th March 1916 at 11am, the Otford Scouts attended service in the Parish Church, accompanied by contingents from Shoreham and Dunton Green. The smart appearance and excellent behaviour of the boys reflected great credit upon their respective Scout Masters; Miss Cornwallis, Miss Gregory and the Dunton Green Scout Master. The vicar, in a short address to the boys, spoke to them on the duty of being useful and helpful to others and courteous to all. The Boy Scout Movement is a movement which ought to be dear to the hearts of every patriot, for it is doing a noble work in the training of the future manhood of The Empire.

Between 1916 and 1922 The Otford Troop drop off the RADAR. A District return was submitted to Gillwell IHQ in 1917 which does not mention an Otford Troop (or the Wolf Cubs). Groups would often close or become inactive before then restarting/reforming, often without IHQ being aware. In fact mention of any Scout Group in the Sevenoaks Chronicle is scant during this period, it is assumed because of the war and its aftermath. Its not until April 1922 that Otford Scouts are confirmed as still being in existence in a report listing Seven Troops in the District. In June of that year the Otford Troop camped on Green Hill by kind permission of the owners of Beechy Lees. The unnamed Scout Master thanked Messers Wellband and Browning for their generous help and assistance. The Cornwallis family were still supporting the Scouts and in October a new flag was dedicated at St Barts by the Rev W. J. Sommerville. The flag was presented by Mrs Cornwallis.

On 23rd August 1923 - members of the 1st Otford Troop were entertained to tea at Twitton House before heading off to camp

On Remembrance Sunday 1923 the 1st Otford Troop of Boy Scouts paraded at full strength under Acting Scout Master Mr E Hiseman. Also present were the Otford Girl Guides under Miss Hogbin. The church was said to be crowded and the congregation included members of other denominations including local Wesleyans under Mr Bye. Although there wasn’t a ceremony at the village green War Memorial, wreaths were placed there during the day.

It would seem that Otford Scouts became dormant for a while as a Chronicle article states that in May 1925 the Troop was reformed/reorganised under Scout Master E. W. Parsons and Acting Scout Master E. Hiseman. There were two patrols under Patrol Leaders Frank Kempien and William Fordham, with seconds Cecil Warren and Edward Smith. In June the Shoreham cubs and Scouts put on a concert in aid of their brother Scouts at Otford who gratefully received the £5 10s raised for them. The following month Otford Scouts played Cricket against St Michael’s School. Mr Hiseman was a keen footballer and Cricketer so no doubt he encouraged the Scouts. In November/December 1925 a new Warrant was issued to Scout Master Parsons. This is recorded In the Gazette published by IHQ, held at Gillwell.

On the 2nd April 1926 the Otford and District Scout Association reported a decline in Troop and Scout numbers during the last year. Three Troops, Knockholt, Dunton Green and Otford were said to have expired. This marked the end of Scouting in village..for the moment.

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Church parade held two months later on the 6th August 1915 - Confirmation that the Otford Troop were known as the 1st

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Part Two: A New Start - 1929 to 1959

After the Original Troop closed in 1925/6 the Otford Wing of ‘Toc H’* suggested, in the latter half of the decade, that Scouts be re-established in the village. Their efforts paid off and planning for the new Group began in 1929 (*’Toc H’ is a Christian movement which has its origins in the First World War. In 1915, The Rev Philip Clayton started up a ‘rest and recreation’ centre in Belgium where all soldiers, regardless of rank, would be welcome. Named Talbot House, it soon became known as T. H. or ‘Toc Aitch’ after the method of pronunciation used by Army signallers).

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Wednesday 26th February 1930 the first meeting of Otford Wolf Cubs was held in the village hall. The Rev A. E. Elder - in his address to those present - called the Cubs ‘The children of …..Toc H

The new Group was registered with the Boy Scout Association on 19th March 1930. The Group Scout Master was Mr A. J. Milne-Smith of Leyland, Shoreham Road, Otford, with Cub ‘Master’ Miss Margaret Jessie Garrard of The Old Parsonage, Otford. She was assisted by Miss Betty Thomas of Woodside Cottage, Green Hill Road, Otford. There were 13 Wolf Cubs. Their meeting place was recorded as the Village Hall and the local branch of ‘Toc H’ acted as the Committee.

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On 26th March, during a public meeting and evenings entertainment - put on by Shoreham Scouts - at Otford village hall, the proposition was put to those present that the Otford Boy Scout Troop should be revived. It was carried unanimously. Encouragement was given to the scheme due to Wolf Cubs already being established. A Scout Master had also been found and Mrs Wellband had generously offered a site at the Chalk Pit for a building. £50 was donated to the Scouts if they could raise the remaining cost for erecting an HQ. The 13 Members of the Wolf Cub Pack were invested by the ADC for Cubs, Mrs Stanley Brown, who was present for the function, along with the District Commissioner Major Baden Powell, brother of BP.

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Lady Cornwallis arriving to open the Fete - June 1930;

the Guard of Honour is made up of Otford Wolf Cubs

The Group quickly started to grow and was soon made up of 20 Wolf Cubs, with a new Scout Troop containing eight boys. The original three ‘Officers’ were joined by Acting Scout Master, Mr. A. Kenneth Isaac. The Group had a busy first year; there were two camps held, one at Whitstable, the other at the ‘Scouter’s Cove’, the name given to the Chalk Pit land made available by Mrs Wellband. The Cub Pack undertook to place fresh flowers on the Village War Memorial each week, and entered the Association Cub Shield. The Scout Troop sold programmes and refreshments at a concert in the Village Hall, and were involved at a garden fete held at the ‘Old Parsonage’

 

In 1931 the Group purchased an old War Office building for £25 and erected it at ‘Scouter’s Cove’. A further £40 was spent on ‘renewals and refurbishment’. This became the Groups HQ. The opening ceremony was performed in May by Mr H.S. Munns, chairman of the Sevenoaks District Boy Scouts Association, and the building was dedicated by Rev Elder. It was recognised at the time that the previous Scout Troop had never had a building of its own

 

In the first five years the Group added a Rover Scout section which was led by a Mr E.G. Hiseman. Activities undertaken by the Group included winter football, a jumble sale to fund the purchase of a Totem, a Group concert, a whist drive, the staging of a ‘St George and the Dragon’ tableau, attending week long camps (Walmer Castle, Dymchurch), and visiting a zoo. Several of the Group attended the opening of Downe camp site where they ‘saw The Chief at close quarters’. During this time several Scouts learned to swim and the Wolf Cubs won the Association Cub Trophy . There were also continuing repairs carried out at the scout HQ. At Christmas the Pack sent out a hamper of clothes and groceries to an out of work family and the following year they collected and mended old toys which were then sent to ‘slum’ children.

Duke of Kent’s visit to Otford 1936; Wolf Cubs in the High

Street near to ‘Ye Olde Bull Inn’

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In September 1937 the Group consisted of 21 Wolf Cubs, 23 Scouts and four ‘Officers’. Although the leaders were beginning to change, Miss Garrard remained as Cub ‘Master’ (a post she held for 11 years). Activities undertaken included, football, swimming, a concert, hut decoration, and camping on the Isle of Wight and at Bexhill.

 

With war looming the Group carried on as normal, with the Scouts taking part in two camps, a week in The Isle of Wight and weekend near Kemsing, plus trips to the London Music Festival, a fireworks display at Hampstead Heath and wide games on Seal Chart. The Wolf Pack weren’t able to camp as their Cub Master, Miss Garrard had become involved in A.R.P. work. However they went to Maidstone Zoo by Charabanc then onto Dymchurch beach for a ‘camp tea’. The Cubs had success in the Natural History competition, the District Commissioners trophy and District sports. At a crowded village show earlier in the year the Cubs presented ‘Snow White’ and the Scout Master, Mr F.S.V. Davies gave a magic lantern display of camp photographs   

 

By September 1939 the Scout Motto ‘Be Prepared’ had taken on a fresh significance. The Troop responded by attending first aid lectures and exercises, with Scouts acting as patients during ‘black-out’ practice. The older boys were eager to do their bit and several left to act as A.R.P. messengers. Scout Master Davies tried to continue with Troop nights despite being in charge of the local first aid party. He eventually had to resign and Miss Garrard also found herself busy. Fortunately ACM Mrs Ashley kept the Pack going whilst helping to revive the Troop.

The 1940s

By the end of 1940 the Group was in difficulty. Attendance had almost petered out due to the ‘black-out’ and the distance of the Chalk Pit HQ from the boy’s homes. As an emergency measure, meetings were shifted to the rear garden of The Grange, High Street, the home of the Group Scout Master, Mr H.C. Laurie. A ‘rough and ready’ hut was built and Cubs started to return to the Pack and new recruits joined the revived Troop. The Cubs played several football matches and took a hand in local waste paper collections (waste paper was used extensively in the war effort, from making engine gaskets to components in munitions).

 

Record keeping by the Group Committee became less frequent, before finally stopping in 1941. By the end of that year both GSM Laurie and CM Garrard had resigned, both having moved away from the area. Mr Ashley took over the GSM role. The Group acquired a new HQ, a derelict cottage at the top of Tudor Drive, and work began to fix it up. Each Scout Patrol had its own ‘den’, and there were separate rooms for the Cubs, Scouters and for general meetings.

 

In 1942, there were further difficulties for the Group with leaders being called away and older Scouts joining the Cadet Corps. The Group was then joined by ASM ‘Dan’ Fuller an Ex King’s Scout. He was assisted by 1st Class Scout Mepham and between them they concentrated on badge work for the younger Scouts. The ‘Black-out’ still affected Cub numbers but the summer was better attended with good meetings being held in the Chalk Pit. Both the Troop and Pack attended a ‘Fairboree’ held in Sevenoaks and at the end of September the whole Group met together for an afternoon visit by former GSM Mr Laurie and former CM Miss Garrard.

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Case of theft from Otford Scout HQ heard at Juvenile Court. The Bench comprised of Mrs Deed, Mr Young & Mr Rogers; September 1942

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The Group continued as a ‘happy family’ in 1943. In the run up to September the Troop took part in several activities, a Christmas party followed by a midnight hike, Saturday afternoon expeditions, involving treasure hunts, good turn hikes, bridge and tree house building. Some of the Troop became 1st and 2nd class Scouts, with one becoming a King’s Scout (badge pictured left ; Scout badges were printed - as opposed to embroidered - during the war years)

 

The Pack numbered 21 and had made steady progress throughout the year with Cubs attaining 11 one and two star badges and nine proficiency badges (observer badge shown, right)

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Scouters Cove HQ was taken over by the Home Guard and the Group was given permission to use the Gate House by the Rural District Council. Whilst lighting and black-outs were installed the Scouts shared the old HQ with the Home Guard. The Group still raised funds, usually holding events in the Methodist hall. At one stage the Group got into financial difficulty through buying uniforms for Wolf Cubs and Scouts who were then not contributing to their cost.

 

Pictured; a typical Scout from 1943

 

During 1946/early 1947, it seems the Cub Pack briefly closed as it was restarted in November ‘47. They had a steady attendance of 24 Wolf Cubs who worked on proficiency badges and their two star tests. The Scouts, although low in numbers, held a high percentage of their meetings outside, taking part in several activities, including wide games at weekends. In May they camped at Broadstone Warren with some of the older Scouts returning in the summer to assist the warden in running the site. In common with other Groups, the Rover section was short of members as most had been called up for National Service.

 

In September 1947,after several years away, ASM Mepham returned from Army Service and Troop numbers began to increase. Two Patrols were formed, and four of the Scouts  worked on their First Class badge. Both the Troop and Wolf Cubs spent time outdoors. The Troop in particular enjoying bridge building across the River Darenth, bivvy building, rope climbing, cooking competitions, wide games and tracking in the snow.

Towards the end of the decade, the Group found it necessary to close the Cub Pack again, through lack of leaders. It was hoped that this would be temporary. Meanwhile the Troop consolidated its position, with a steady stream of new recruits joining up. The Scouts were allowed to use the Kemsing HQ as the Troop there was dormant. The Scouts repaired the building and used it as a base for wide games and outdoor activities (An ‘Annual Returns’ form shows that from 1947 to 1949 there were Wolf Cubs, Scouts and for 1947 at least, a Senior Scout section)

The 1950s

At the time of writing, there are few detailed records available. It is known that in June 1950, the Group took part in a large District display, where Scouting skills, including first aid and  pioneering, were showcased to the public. Two lads, R Knight and R Marchant became First Class Scouts. The Cub Pack was still without leaders and remained closed. The 12 Scouts making up the Troop now met in the Memorial Hall.

 

By March 1951, the Cub Pack had reopened and had 15 members. They came third in a District Totem competition. (The three lads left hand side, back row -  with dark coloured scarves - are thought to be the Otford Wolf Cubs)

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The Troop had increased to 24 boys and there were five Senior Scouts; all overseen by SM Robinson-Fuller, ASM Mepham and ACM J.S. Brown. Scout R. Knight had built on his hard work the previous year by attaining his Scout Cords (First Class Scout plus six proficiency badges). The Group would have taken part in the District wide events, Bob-a-Job week, St George’s Day Service, Rally at Knole Park, camping/Cub competitions and the swimming gala. Apart from census reports covering the decade, not much else is known about the Group during this period.

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Collet’s Well Fete in the early 1950s; a closely watched pioneering demonstration, and right, a makeshift ambulance – cause for some amusement

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July 1953 - the annual church fete held at Castle House. The Scouts would run boating sessions in the lake (from at least 1942 onwards)

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Scout Holiday, sometime in the late 1950s

In September 1959 the Scout HQ at ‘Scouter’s Cove’ was seriously damaged by fire and wasn’t repairable. However there were already plans to build a larger HQ. In the meantime the Group moved temporarily back into The Gate House.

 

Rough sketch of planned hut, to be sited opposite the damaged HQ. The design was drawn up by Honorary Architect Mr J.C. Morris

 

Note - At the start of the 1950s the uniform was described as being a khaki shirt with a royal blue scarf. At the end of the decade the Scarf was royal blue with gold border (scarves were sometimes changed to mark an event or anniversary).

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Part Three: A Gold[en] Edged Era - 1960 to 1989

The 1960s

1961 Scout & Guide party, held at the village hall (now called the Otford Parish Church Hall). Work started on the new hut in 1961 and it was finished in 1962. That same year a second Wolf Cub Pack was opened and it is assumed that this is when they were named; Seeonee (after the Wolf Pack that took in Mowgli) and Waingunga (a river that features in Kipling’s Jungle Book).  

By 1962 a Senior Section had been formed with 16 of the older Scouts, who, since their formation, had carried out successful expeditions to Wales and Derbyshire where they took part in climbing and potholing. The Section’s weekly programme included canoeing, weekend hikes and night time competitions. And for the upcoming year they planned a hiking/climbing holiday in Luxenbourg and Belgium, taking part in The National Scout Soapbox Derby and more advanced climbing weekends. 

 

At the 1962 Grand Scout Fete, the Group showcased Cub training through typical games, with the Senior Scouts demonstrating lightweight camping and climbing equipment. They also constructed an aerial runway ‘guaranteed to take the heaviest adult’. A Roman chariot race was also staged which promised to be the ‘most exciting event since ‘Spartacus’

 

In 1963 the group consisted of 39 Wolf Cubs, 27 Scouts and 20 Senior Scouts. There were 8 leaders under the Group Scout Master Mr Archibald Hugh Campbell.

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During the 1964 Bob-A-Job week a list of jobs that could be done by Wolf Cubs was circulated round the village. These included; carrying coals, bathing dogs, peeling potatoes, beating mats, shopping errands, gathering eggs, chopping wood, polishing perambulators, minding children, and mowing lawns.

 

In June 1964 the Scout Group held a very successful fete in the school grounds pulling in a large crowd with a varied selection of stalls selling produce or putting on tradition games, a BBQ, an inter Scout Group bridge building competition. And most impressive of all, the 3rd Battalion Queen’s Royal Surrey (TA) band commanded by Lieut. Col. D.B. Pullen of Knighton Road. The band played all day, ending the fete with a traditional ‘Beating the Retreat. The following month the Scouts ran a grand BBQ in the chalk pits. Attendance was low as a ‘mischief-maker’ had pasted cancelled stickers over the posters advertising the event!

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The Otford Scout fete was a regular feature of Village life throughout the 1960s, being held at several locations - Otford school grounds and the Recreation Ground being two (picture 1965)

 

By 1966, wolf cubs numbered 50, with 26 Scouts and 12 Senior Scouts.

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Wolf Cubs fire lighting,  a group photo with a Senior Scout, and an indoor camp fire; all some time between 1962 and 1967

August 1969 found 17 Scouts and their leaders on a ten day summer camp on the banks of the River Wye near Monmouth. They visited the Army Apprentice’s College based in Chepstow, where they learnt canoeing techniques, map making/surveying, photography and printing. Instructors from the College gave up a day off to take the Older Scouts canoeing on the River Wye itself. The Scouts also attended a steam rally, taking part in a race (see photo). The camp was finished of with a night spent in bivouacs and a hike through the Forest of Dean.       

 

In November 1969 there was a danger that the Scout Troop and one of the Cub Packs could close by the Christmas through lack of leaders. In an effort to recruit leaders the Scouts approached local businesses, called door to door throughout the village and even offered a babysitting service for any parent volunteer with young children of their own. It was felt at the time that, although a new Cub leader could be male or female, it was preferable that the replacement Scout leader be male and in their 20s as they would be ‘capable of taking part in the more active pursuits of Scouting’! The following month the closure was averted by parents and friends of the Group stepping forward.   

 

Note - the 1967 ‘Advance Party Report’ brought National changes to training and uniform

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The 1970s

In 1970/71 it seems that the Group was experiencing a dip, with the Scout Troop needing to be re-established and Seeonee Pack suffering from low numbers. However mainly through the leadership of ‘Chuck’ Grogan (Scouts), Colin Buckle (Waingunga) and Geoff Thomas (Seeonee) over seen by two GSLs, - both named Derek - the Group recovered and went from strength to strength

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By 1972 both Cub Packs were at their permitted maximum (36 Cubs Each) and for the rest of the decade they both maintained high numbers. The Cub Packs tended to pool resources and would often have Pack holidays together at St Mary’s Bay. Hiking, swimming and football were all popular activities, usually carried on outside of the usual meetings. Waingunga Pack were particularly successful at football, taking part in both 7 and 5-a-side football tournaments. Days out included a visit to Chessington Zoo and the almost obligatory visit to see the Harlem Globetrotters. And, unbelievably in this day and age, Waingunga also had several visits ‘air side’ at Heathrow where they toured a British Airways hanger, a VC 10, a Jumbo jet and Concorde!

The Scouts also recovered and were soon offering a very adventurous programme; canoeing, caving, sailing, mountaineering, gliding, rock climbing, and camping - in places such as North Wales and Derbyshire. The Scouts also undertook community work in the village, collecting firewood for the elderly, clearing footpaths of nettles and volunteering to help at Dorton House (school for blind/partially sighted children).

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It was soon found that Scouts, who had to leave at 16 years, wanted to continue in Scouting.  It was decided start to a Venture Scout Unit. After several years of struggling to find a leader, the Ventures finally got off the ground in July 1978. The first intake of six ex Scouts were soon walking in the Lake District, attempting the 16 peaks challenge. Due to leadership problems the Ventures had a patchy existence, not regularly meeting again until late 1979

   

Its fair to say the Group flourished in the 1970s not just through the hard work of the leaders, but also because of the supporters, whose constant fund raising - the Scout fete, jumble sales, dances, Christmas draws, and cheese & wine events - raised money for running costs, new tents and in 1978/9 a minibus. The main fund raising success was the firework evening, which started out in the early part of the decade as an event just for the Group and its supporters, before growing into the major fund raiser it is today.    

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The 1980s

1980 was the Golden Jubilee year of the Group. A week of ‘special’ events were held in September, the same month as the ‘Otford Scout & Cub Group 50th Anniversary Fete’ which was held on the 13th.

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1980 saw Waingunga Cubs take part in skateboarding at Buckmore Park, as well as the more traditional Scouting pursuits (Seal Chart) The Venture Scout Unit, still struggling, undertook a canoeing/cycling holiday before again folding.

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In 1981 the Cubs began to compete in the ‘Cub Kar Rally’ recently introduced to the District by a Visiting Canadian Major who had run the event back in Canada. And a 15th Sevenoaks Cub won!

 

Waingunga continued its interesting programme of events, attending banger car racing in Essex, ice skating, bi monthly hikes, holding a sponsored silence and raising £120 for a luncheon club for the elderly.

Both Cub Packs continued to thrive, feeding into the increasingly adventurous Scout Troop. The list of activities the Scouts undertook expanded throughout the decade. They added sub aqua, parascending, sea fishing, go-karting, grass and water skiing, pony trekking and BMX to the usual Scouting pursuits of climbing and camping.

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The leaders also ran a regular Tuesday night air rifle club, a Wednesday canoeing club and Badge nights/training days (separate from the Friday meetings) if the Scouts asked for them. The Scouts continued to regularly commit to ‘service projects’ which included footpath and land clearing, visits to Sevenoaks Hospital, and working with disabled children.

 

Both Cub Packs regularly held two camps a year; Waingunga Camps were usually held on farm land and at least one farmer would look forward to their visits joining in with the sausage sizzles and activities.

 

The Scouts ran at least three camps a year plus a Patrol Leaders training weekend, usually held with Patrol Leaders from the village Girl Guide unit.

 

In 1986, as Cubs Scouts celebrated their 70th anniversary, the Group started a Beaver Colony. It was immediately full (24 boys) and with a waiting list! One notable early meeting; the Beavers went to Bore Place, Chiddingston where they made bricks and built a wall.

 

Towards the end of the decade the Group found that is was short of both leaders and supporters, with the number of Cubs and Scouts dropping slightly. Shoreham Scout Group closed and their 6 Cubs were taken in. On a positive note, one of the Groups stalwart supporters, Doug Cracknell was recognised for his 50 year involvement in Scouting

1983, Scouts climbing in North Wales and 1985, white water rafting, again in Wales

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