WOLF CUBS TO CUB SCOUTS
The Group Scout Leader - or Master, as he was then known - was Mr J. Alexander, Mr J. Garriock was Scout Master. Canon Beard ("Ernie" to the Group) announced at Church that a Cub Pack was to be formed with Mrs Alexander and Miss P. Felix as Scouters. The original 12 Wolf Cubs at first met in the Vestry, but soon transferred to Ham School, now the Catholic Church. The first investiture was carried out by the District Cub Commissioner at the time, Mrs N. Hunter.
The Group Scout Master, who was also a teacher at Grey Court School, obtained permission for the group to meet at Grey Court. The Pack was now at full strength of 24 boys, but unfortunately Pat Felix had to resign. To avoid walking four times across the Common when it rained Betty Hymas asked for permission to stay at the school on such occasions, and was promply pressed into service. Shortly afterwards, having adopted a baby, Anne Alexander resigned, and a very green Akela was left in charge, usually one step ahead of the Cubs. One thing after another. John Alexander was transferred to another school, and Michael Hymas (Tig) took over as Group Scout Master. Group activities continued along with participation in District events. A senior Troop was formed under the leadership of Henry Savill. Peter Brown became Assistant Cub Leader and David Brown Assistant Scout Leader. When John Garriock moved, John Savill came in as Assistant Scout Leader.
Betty Hymas took six Cubs to a District Camp, still very green. We got by on observation, putting up our tent one step behind the next Pack!! Tig brought Canon Beard to visit us.
The year we won the Swimming Gala - Cubs, Scouts and Senior Scouts!!
The second District Camp we attended at Burwash - not so green and we came top in the Camp Competition. So next year we decided to "go it alone", at Perry Wood. Being understaffed - Peter Brown had had to leave because of work - we invited Henry and Senior Scouts to join us. Also, luckily for future Cubs, we persuaded Peggy Savill that there was nothing more she wanted to do better than become a "daffodil", i.e. an unwarranted Scouter with a yellow plume. So, plus Chris aged 3 who came as Tig's helper, we began our years of Cub Camps. In the Group's archives there is a film which shows the magic of being 3 - now you see him, now you don't! Over the next 24 years camp was always the highlight of the Cub year. Always happy times, never the same. The wettest camp was at the Fort, Reigate, where we gained Certificates for Survival. It rained before we went, as we arrived and on and off all the time we were there except for the last day and evenings. We found a local model aero club over the hill and watched them in the evenings. the site, a few inches of top soil on clay on concrete rapidly turned into a hippo pool. We trenched and trenched, the boys got filthy and loved it. The warden was pleased with us and offered us a free camp any time. We'd given him an idea. You can see us on a film doing a magic roundabout with the 14 footer to get it dry.
The hottest camp was at Wisborough Green, where we spent a lot of time doing activities under the only tree available for shade. Collecting water was a special treat - collectors got a cup of ice-cold water from the tap! Again we had extra entertainment laid on. A Lancaster bomber flew over us, and a hot air balloon which seemed to have lost its way looked in. The noise was creepy. In spite of all the weather sent us we had wet bedding only once, at our last camp in 1983 at Holmbury St Mary. Someone forgot to tell us that if it rains heavily springs come up at one point. Came the last night and a heavy thunderstorm. We were all up just before dawn carrying out rescue work. The impression was that the boys who werenâ€™t flooded thought they'd been done out of something!!
It was not all camp, though.We attended all District events, winning the sports several times. We graced Gilwell Open Day with our presence on more than one occasion. The troop were in camp there one year and provided us with liquid refreshment. You may well have wondered what the round plaque on the H.Q.wall is doing. We won it at Gilwell Park, beating hundreds of other Packs in an observation competition. Visits and hikes were also part of our life. The War Museum, to which the Group donated a First World War ambulance (much like a trek cart), Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Air Force Museum, Transport Museum, Ham House, Oxshott Woods, Richmond Park, etc etc. We also went to two County Cub Days on Epsom Downs. The Chief Scout was designated to arrive by helicopter at the first. True to form, it rained and rained - and all the Cub caps shrunk. Eventually, in the afternoon, it stopped, and the Great Man arrived - Peggy got to shake hands with him. The weather was a bit better for the second, but we had no VIP visiting.
Perhaps the greatest event of Cub life in the Group was when, after battling with 36 Cubs and a waiting list, our H.Q. was sufficiently ready for Peggy to open our second Pack, with Sheila Tomkins as assistant. A number of people have helped as assistants with the Packs - Egger Tomlin, Barry Bright, Jack Seaman, Margaret, Denise Thorogood ("Cinders") were all ACSLs at one time or another. Cinders was with us from the age of 14 'til she married in her twenties and moved north. Senior Scouts along the years to the present Venture Scouts all gave their assistance - David Stevens, Egger, Richard Hymas, Andrew Savill (leaving to become ASL), Paul Merrifield, Jason McElroy, Joseph Perkins. In 1983, Gordon Tucker, Bill Thomson and Andrew Reid were part of the team - Gordon stepping nobly into the breach at a moment's notice from Betty and Bill taking over from Peggy shortly after; a little later, Nigel Lambert took over from Bill, and remained Akela until he moved away from the area. The good news is that he has started a flourishing Pack near his new home in Sussex.
With numbers in both packs falling, and a lack of appropriate leaders, the Group was forced to amalgamate the two packs into one - but the present Cub Scouts are every bit as lively as the former Wolf Cubs, but are growing up in a very different world!