Southampton Scouting in the 1980’s

Something big to yell about!


Words by JO WATERS Pictures by TONY MARDELL

NOISE was the order of the day in Southampton scouting circles yesterday.

As if the din caused by boisterous mass balloon-bursting by hundreds of tiny beavers wasn’t loud enough. 1,500 other cubs and scouts joined ‘the throng, raising the rafters of the city’s Guildhall with a deafening “Hampshire Yell”. The lively youngsters certainly had something to shout about —the 40th anniversary of Southampton Central and West Division —plus Hampshire Scout Week and celebrations for scouting’s patron St George.

The 2nd West at Shirley and the 14th Central at Highfieid were also celebrating their joint 80th birthdays. Southampton West’s first commissioner John Claimant was at hand at a special ceremony attended by city MP Christopher Chope and deputy mayor Norman Best. A giant size 40th birthday cake was paraded shoulder high and venture scouts showed off some of the rugged outdoor skills required for the Queen’s Scout Award.

Geoff Johnson, district commissioner for Southampton West Division, said: -Scouting is as popular now as it was 40 years ago — we have something for everyone aged six to 20.- Mr Johnson said scouting had been radically updated in the 1960s in a bid to break away from the sticks and string image. “Today’s scouts go mountain climbing, canoeing and caving and learn about computers, electronics and mechanics. But we still teach the more traditional camp fire skills as well as prepare boys to work together and become self-reliant.

Taking it all in their stride

DRIZZLY weather couldn’t put the dampeners on over 4,000 youngsters who con-verged on Netley Abbey for a St George’s Day parade.

Cubs, scouts, brownies and guides from Itchen North and South were in high spirits as they paraded after a special open-air service to honour scouting’s patron saint.

Southampton mayor councillor Mrs Pat Bear and Lieu-tenant Commander Sutton of HMS Wessex were among the guests of honour at the annual event.

Photo Captions

ARRIVAL, Dignitaries arrive at Southampton Guildhall for the start of the procession

LESSON: Brownies occupy the aisle and listen in

EXAMPLE: John Guilmont, first district commissioner in Southampton

SHOUT OUT LOUD: Cubs demonstrate the “Hampshire Yell”

EXCHANGE: Peter Cannon, 14th Highfield group scout leader, exchanges plaques with Gail Langston, 2nd Southampton group scout leader

CELEBRATION: The 40-candle birthday cake is paraded before the audience

LIGHT WORK: Final touches are put to the giant cake