1st Albrighton Scout Group is celebrating a big birthday in style after securing a £5,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help it preserve its story for years to come.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the exciting project has created an extensive archive at the Shaw Lane Den that features more than 200 photos, minutes from meetings and a paddle from the Isle of Wight.
The colourful collection of memories and artefacts, which have been curated by former leader Bob Stanton and Victoria Mitchell, also features a plywood model of The Den and a special 80th badge designed by a former Scout to mark the anniversary.
Local people and dignitaries received a first look of the display on Saturday (February 19th) when the 1st Albrighton Scout Group held a special opening ceremony and tea party.
“This celebration has been three years in the making thanks to Covid-19, but we’re finally glad to get everyone together to mark an important anniversary for our group and the village,” explained Richard Wild, Group Scout Leader.
“It was with a view to helping the War effort locally that the 1st Cosford Troop was formed by Major Pearson in 1939, with our current name coming into force 13 years later. During that same period, Dr Legge had kindly donated land for our HQ – the same one we are still in today.”
He continued: “The Scouts have played such a massive role in village life, supporting community events and parades, and putting Albrighton on the international map with jamborees in Austria, Sweden and Tokyo. They even helped to extinguish a fire at the Maltings on the High Street in 1958.
“That is why it was so important to document our colourful history for future generations to enjoy and to hopefully inspire young people to get involved with our movement. Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund we’ve turned the dream into an impressive archive.”
The long-awaited 80th birthday party started with a STEM session at RAF Cosford for all Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, before more than 150 people descended on The Den for an afternoon tea and the grand opening of the archive.
Backed by a host of local businesses, community groups and villagers, the event featured addresses from Sylvia Pledger (Leader of Albrighton Parish Council) and several former Scout leaders.
As well as reflecting on the past, there was also a focus on the future with the launch of new shelters that have been constructed thanks to a ‘generous bequest’ from Colin Pike’s family.
This new development will support outside learning and activities and is the first of several improvements planned, including raising money to renovate the kitchen and toilets over the next 18-months.
Jon Gill, Group Chairman and a key member of the organising committee alongside his wife Lynn, picked up the story: “The archive is a fantastic addition to The Den, yet is still very much work in progress with the opportunity to add to it with more artefacts, memories and anything that tells the story of the last 80 years.
“The Scouts is such a fantastic movement, and we are certainly enjoying a renaissance with more young people keen to join. What we really need now is volunteers to come forward and become part of our Group, so we can give more local children the chance to make lifelong friends, take part in fun activities and learn valuable life skills.”
Richard Wild concluded: “Covid was extremely tough on our children and the Scouts were there for families as much as we could be, holding virtual sleepover camps and regularly checking in to see how our young people were doing.
“We’re now coming out of the pandemic and are in a really strong position with 70 members across Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers – there’s even a waiting list to get in. This, along with the exciting plans we’ve got for The Den, means we have a really strong platform to write the next chapter of 1st Albrighton Scout Group.”
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