Call for former scouts to help celebrate 11th Norwich centenary

A Norwich scout group has appealed for former members, leaders and parents to step forward and help the historic youth organisation celebrate its centenary next year.

The 11th Norwich Sea Scout Group, based by the river Wensum on Helford Street, off Heigham Street, was founded in 1913.

Since then, it is estimated that more than 30,000 youngsters could have passed through the group's hierarchy of beavers, cubs, scouts and its venture scout unit – added to the legions of parents, leaders and volunteers who have helped to maintain its success.

Its committee is planning events to celebrate the 100th anniversary, and wants anyone associated with the group throughout its long history to get in touch.

Group chairman Marc Middleton, known throughout the Scouting fraternity as Naggs, said: 'We are just looking to put the word out for ex-11th people to get in touch. We have this important anniversary coming up and we want to celebrate it.

'Joining as an 11-year-old turned my life around. I got to see the world as we travelled to Morocco, Holland and Sweden with the venture unit. It made me more aware of people and life in general and it gives you such a good outlook being able to travel and you meet so many people from so many walks of life.

'I don't know many other groups of people who have that. It is a real journey, and it has given me a great family. It was never too regimental, it was all about giving kids some good fun and getting them out there doing activities.'

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The 11th Norwich is one of only 101 groups in the UK to have Royal Naval recognition, a status which was confirmed at a recent inspection, when a naval officer assessed the scouts' parade drills and boating skills.

Long-serving former chairman Paul Varvel, whose association with the group stretches back to when he joined as a cub scout in 1949, said: 'Throughout the years there has been a huge amount of people involved with the 11th Norwich.

'We were trying to calculate how many kids had gone through over 100 years, and we came up with a number of between 30 to 45,000 boys. But it is not just the kids, there are an awful lot of other people working hard to keep things afloat. Every parent has been involved, even if it is just to do the washing and ironing after an activity.

'I started in 1949 and I never really left. I have now had three grandchildren going through and all my social friends are ex-11th people, some slightly older and some slightly younger.

'I always call it a family. Scouting does keep people together through life and they become true friends.'

?To get involved in the centenary celebrations, email or contact Paul Varvel on 01603 455685.

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