Norfolk Guides holding online virtual VE day “camp”
PUBLISHED: 09:50 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 07 May 2020
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012
Norfolk Guides are inviting people to relive history at a special online camp over the VE weekend.
The V for Virtual camp replaces a day of community events planned at Girlguiding Norfolk’s Archive Resource Centre in Coltishall, and in other parts of the county, but cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The online event will commemorate the work done by the Guide International Service (GIS) in the Second World War.
In the 1940s, teams of older guides and leaders undertook a tough training programme to equip them for working in Europe and the Middle East at the end of the war.
MORE: All the ways to mark VE Day in Norfolk and Waveney this year
Members of a GIS team were among the first people to enter the liberated Belsen concentration camp, helping in the clinic and children’s hospital.
Others worked with Greek refugees in Egypt, repatriated displaced Polish people in Germany and established a mobile hospital in the Netherlands.
The rigorous tests devised for potential GIS members are being replicated as far as possible during the virtual VE Camp.
It will be led online by the team at Girlguiding Norfolk’s Archive Resource Centre, the first purpose-built girlguiding archive in the UK. Run by volunteers, it holds a collection of more than 30,000 items from over a century of guiding in Norfolk.
Helen Green, organiser and county archivist, said: “This is a remarkable part of guiding history and it seemed right to grasp the opportunity to give girls and leaders a unique experience to have an adventure at home.
“Celebrations will undoubtedly continue despite the restrictions and we wanted to be part of it all.”
MORE: How Norfolk churches are commemorating VE day
“Campers” will be able to log-on to a special social media page from 10am on Friday, May 8, where they will find a 1940s-style welcome and instruction manual.
Challenges will be modelled on the tests GIS members had to pass will include a physical exercise challenge, learning new language skills, cooking with rationed ingredients, fire-lighting techniques, initiative tests and make do and mend repairs.
“We know that only the toughest young women were chosen for the GIS,” said Helen. “They had to work in harsh conditions, cope with difficult situations and be caring, helpful and compassionate in their work.
“They were an amazing group of women whose contribution to relief work after the war was hugely significant but largely unknown.”
The camp is open to any guiding members and their families to join and you can follow on the ARC FaceBook page (@GGNARC), Twitter (@GGNorfolkARC) and Instagram (@girlguidingnorfolkarc).
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