Share your memories of 80-year-old scout group
- Credit: Archant
It was the only scout group in Lowestoft which continued throughout the Second World War.
And memories of the popular 14th Lowestoft Scouts Group are being sought as it celebrates its 80th anniversary next month.
Former members are being invited to go along and share their memories and tales from yester-year at a special event on April 2.
Phillip Cocks started the 14th Lowestoft Scouts Group with just eight boys on April 7, 1937 – and the only surviving member, Ken Strong, will be the guest of honour at next month's anniversary event. Mr Strong is now the group's President.
Scout Leader Richard Brabben said: 'We would like to invite anyone who has a connection with 14th Lowestoft scouts over the past 80 years to come back to the headquarters at The Den in High Street, Lowestoft on Sunday, April 2 and share memories, reminisce about how things were.
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'We will have a 1937-style camp set out with old tilly lamps, old tents, old uniforms and with boys cooking 1937-style food on wood fires. In comparison there will also be a 2017 campsite to show how things have come up to date.
'Our museum will be open and on show will be 30 of Skipper Phil Cocks' logbooks from 1937 to 1950 with pictures and cuttings recording in detail all the activities the scouts did each week. There are also albums of photos from every decade – so a lot of history to look at.'
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Mr Cocks was a cub leader with the Oulton cub pack when in Spring 1937 he spotted the premises later to become The Den, which then was a dilapidated billiards room and conservatory with a tennis court at the back.
He sought out the landlord and asked if he could use it for a scout HQ, as he wanted to set up his own scout group. A fee or four shillings a week was agreed and the task of making it suitable to be a scout base began.
Before long the Second World War had come along but the 14th Lowestoft continued – the only group in town to keep going as Skipper Cocks was in a reserved occupation.
A LOVE OF THE OUTDOORS
With the national service badge introduced to the scout curriculum, the boys who had not been evacuated during the Second World War became sea scouts in 1940 to support the Navy with the war effort.
Some were Air Raid Precaution messengers, others helped with first aid work, billeting, or with installing air raid shelters.
Whist drives that were organised nightly at The Den in the wartime proved really popular and a lucrative source of income – allowing the parents' group to raise enough money so that in 1950 they were able to buy their headquarters building outright. And this was the same year the scouts reverted back to land scouts from sea!
Mr Brabben added: 'Although many things have changed the thing that youngsters really love about scouting is the outdoors and adventure of camping and cooking for themselves on wood fires out in the open and trying new challenging activities.'
The group has run 80 summer camps, having never missed one even during the war – although during that time, tents had to be covered with camouflage nets!
After the war, and in 1948, the group went to Switzerland for a summer camp and have been there four times since, aos travelling to Germany, Holland, Jersey and Guernsey.
The anniversary celebrations will start with a thanksgiving service for 14th Lowestoft scout group, its leaders and supporters at 10.30am at Corton Church. The service will be led by Rev Roger Key, to which everyone is invited, amd will include an excerpt from the Cubs' 100th Gang Show as well as readings by cubs, scouts and beavers.
From noon there will be open house at The Den where as well as the museum being open with a buffet and at 2.30pm an anniversary cake will be cut.
Visit www.14thlowestoftscouts.co.uk or Facebook@14thlowestoft for details.