Saturday 4th July marks the day that the 12th Chichester Scout Group celebrates its 60th anniversary having been refounded in November 1955 by Bernard Price.
The group’s 60th anniversary celebrations will be held at the scout HQ, Sherborne Road, s starting at 2pm with an official opening from the mayor, Peter Budge, at 3pm, a barbecue at 6.30pm and campfire at 8pm.
The 12th Chichester group had started life on the east side of Chichester in April 1924 as the 12th Chichester (Portfield).
The registration was cancelled in 1925 but they returned a couple of years later, only to last until 1932.
Strangely when the group reformed in 1936 it was as the 12th Chichester (St Bartholomew’s) a group sponsored by the Church of England and on the west side of Chichester. St Bartholomew’s church is in Mount Lane, Chichester.
During the war the then scout leader, Mr Scales was called up and the group merged with 8th Chichester and its registration was cancelled in 1948.
In 1955, the Rev Goode, then vicar at St Bartholomew’s suggested to Bernard Price, then a rover scout with 5th Chichester that he might reform 12th Chichester and so he did.
Bernard Price later became a well respected local historian and appeared as one of the experts on the Antiques Roadshow.
The scout troop was re-registered in November 1955 and by chance the colours chosen for the troop turned out to be the same colours as those before the war.
The meetings were held at the vicarage, under a tree in Westgate Fields, in the summer and at Bernard’s mother’s house in the winter.
Finally they moved to a hut, now demolished in the grounds of Woodlands Annexe off St Paul’s Road which used to be a children’s home, the an nursery school and then more latterly part of Chichester College of Further Education .
Quite a few of the early members came from there.
Bernard left in 1962 and Len Eyles took over as scout leader. And Len is still connected with the group some 53 years later as its President and his wife, Enid, is Vice President.
Notice was given by West Sussex County Council to quit and under the direction of the Group Scout Leader DB Hampton and Mr WG Ide, group chairman.
Around 1968 the City Council agreed to grant the scout troop a 27 year lease on the Oliver Whitby fields in Sherborne Road and the official opening by Bernard Price took place on 15 April 1969.
The HQ cost around £4,000 to build.
The scout troop won in 1967 an annual competition open to groups where DB Hampton’s father’s former scouts were leaders.
The longer serving members of the group have included the late Sonia Clayton-Russell, a JP and occupational therapist who was the cub leader for many years, Don Bull another cub leader and Tony Wingham who was group scout leader from 1976 to 1992.
Sonia was responsible for getting together the initial band of supporters, some of which still help at Jumble Sales, the Christmas Fayre and other fund-raising events.
One family is currently represented by three generations – Malcolm Barrett is vice-chairman, having previously served as chairman, his son Chris is currently chairman and his son George is an assistant Cub Scout leader in the group.
Michael Merritt who joined the scout troop in 1968 is still there currently as cubs scout leader.
The group currently has around 80 young members in the beaver, cub and scout section supported by a dozen or so leaders. There are waiting lists for all the sections as scouting has shown a resurgence of popularity in recent years, most likely as a result of two high profile Chief Scouts – firstly Peter Duncan and currently Bear Grylls.
At one stage the group had two cub packs (Oak and Beech) and two scout troops (Ash and Birch).
The current scout leader, Tony Tunnell will be attending the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Kirara-hama, Japan at the end of July leading the contingent of scouts from West Sussex including one, Adam Long, from his own troop.
Since 1983 scouts connected with 12th Chichester have attended every World Jamboree – a gathering of up to 40,000 scouts from around the world, held every four years.
As long ago as 1963 Eric Gerelle attended the World Jamboree held in Greece.
The group would be delighted to welcome old members and not so old recent members on Saturday 4th July.
People are welcome to just turn up on the day and reminisce and see what the current scout group is up to.
If possible advance notification to the group secretary Alan Pope, at 64 Parklands Road, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 3DU: tel 01243 528821, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org would help so the group can get some idea of numbers for catering purposes.
Also please visit the group’s website at www.12thchichester.org.uk/
60th anniversary group badges are available for sale at £1 each (personal collection) or £1.50 including postage. Please complete the contact form on the website or e-mail the group secretary.
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