Plea for leaders as Scouts group celebrates centenary
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
MEMBERS of the 1st Barnard Castle Scouts are to be awarded commemorative badges to celebrate their troop’s centenary.
The group officially came into being on October 19, 1919, and now, 100 years on, each of the more than 100 Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers are to receive a special badge at a presentation at The Bowes Museum.
Chairman of the group Colin Clarke said: “There were Scouts around from 1913 onwards and they were registered locally, but then they were registered nationally.”
Photographs of the pack at around that time show there were more than 40 youngsters involved and Mr Clarke said they were initially housed in a wooden hut, until it collapsed in a snow storm in the late 1920s.
Treasurer David Williams added that a new hut was built using bricks salvaged from the demolition of a mill at the bottom of The Bank. It opened in 1932 and would serve the pack for a further 66 years.
Mr Clarke said the group kept going through the Second World War through the efforts of the Wright brothers and later another set of brothers, Jack and Ken Stannard came to be the backbone of the organisation.
Mr Clarke, who became involved with the group when he moved to the town in 1966, said: “Jack and Ken started in 1936 and they both carried on until they died.”
Mr Williams added: “They dedicated their lives to it”.
When the group’s hut began falling apart in 1999 the leaders started looking for the £180,000 needed for a new headquarters.
Fortunately, they successfully applied to the National Lottery. The new HQ was opened on the site of the previous building just two years later, in July 2001.
Explaining the appeal of Scouting, Mr Clarke said “They call it skills for life. Boys and girls work as a team – it helps them reach their best potential.”
Mr Williams added: “As can be seen by all the badges – from computing to cooking, to photography – there is a whole gamut.”
However, as successful as the pack is – there is a waiting list to join the beavers colony – the group is struggling to meet the demands.
Mr Williams said: “At one stage we were about 150 [Scouts]. We were the biggest in County Durham. Our problem is finding leaders. We only have one Beaver colony now because we don’t have enough leaders and we are struggling to keep the second Cub pack going. That is our biggest problem.”
The issue is not limited to Barnard Castle and there is currently a county-wide drive to recruit more people to help.
No experience or qualifications are need to be a leader and people are given training once they are accepted into the movement.
Anyone interested in signing up can contact Mr Clarke on 07802 855604 or email email@example.com.