Scouts' promises to mark centenary

From an initial membership of just 20 to an international organisation with a staggering 28 million members - it is a movement well worth celebrating.n

From an initial membership of just 20 to an international organisation with a staggering 28 million members - it is a movement well worth celebrating.

And the scouting community took just that opportunity yesterday as they marked their centenary in style with a co-ordinated worldwide effort.

Events all around the UK and in 160 other countries, including Ecuador, the Kingdom of Bhutan and Romania, were held at 8am.

The thread running throughout each gathering was the reaffirmation of the scouts' promise.

One of the key locations was where it all started 100 years ago - Brownsea Island in Poole harbour - where the movement began with an experimental camp for boys.

Robert Baden-Powell first ran a camp for 20 boys from different social backgrounds at the Dorset island in August 1907, more as an experiment than with long term intentions.

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He went on to write the book Scouting For Boys and the movement was born.

The National Trust-owned island saw 300 scouts attend a commemorative camp on the original site and members from around the world paraded their flags before taking part in a sunrise ceremony.

UK scout Alastair Frankl, aged 16, read out the words Baden-Powell said to the gathering on Brownsea 100 years ago.

In the speech, Baden-Powell called for peace, comradeship and co-operation instead of rivalry between “classes, creeds and countries which have done so much in the past to produce wars and unrest”.

Alastair, from Manchester, said: “It has made me think how one man has changed the world. It is one world, one promise. We are all here as peace ambassadors. We are the next generation. We are the ones bringing peace forward into the world.”

Ana Mejia, 14, from Honduras, added: “It doesn't matter what our nationality, our religion, our colour, we are a family and we have to support each other. I think Baden-Powell would be happy to see how the group has grown.”

East Anglia joined in, too, with 1st Mundesley Air Scouts gathering for an aerial photograph in a '100' formation at Madra, the local recreation ground.

Group scout leader Heather Palmer said the event had developed from a cheque presentation to the air ambulance. “It was nice to do something slightly different and it was a huge amount of fun for everyone involved,” she said.

Members of 1st Wells sea scouts had a breakfast meeting aboard The Albatros in town at 7.30am before renewing their promises.

Scouts from the 16 groups in west Norfolk met in the Tuesday Market Place in King's Lynn and at RAF Marham, members of the station's scouting group gathered and heard an address from group scout leader Sgt Andrew Monkhouse.

And Britain's most easterly renewal of vows was taken by about 100 scouts at Ness Point in Lowestoft, where local scouts were joined by youngsters on holiday in the area.

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