Picture Gallery: 11th Norwich Sea Scout group celebrates its centenary with the Lord Mayor

Lord Mayor Keith Driver cuts the cake as 11th Norwich Sea Scouts celebrate their centenary at the base on the bank of the Wensum. Photo: Bill Smith

A historic Norwich scout group proudly celebrated its 100th anniversary with a day of civic ceremony and riverside reminiscences.

The milestone was marked by the banks of the Wensum at the Helford Street headquarters of the 11th Norwich Sea Scout Group, one of only 101 UK groups to be recognised by the Royal Navy.

In time-honoured naval tradition, the centenary ceremonies began as the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Keith Driver, was 'piped aboard' to inspect the uniformed youngsters, watched by their families and scores of former scouts.

'It is overwhelming to see so many people here,' he said.

'These young people are our future and if we do not support groups like this, our society will just fade away. Hopefully they will be here for another 100 years.'

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After the formalities, the youngsters took to the water for a day of boating activities, joined by older generations of scouts whose association with the group dates back more than 60 years.

One of them was 73-year-old Lionel 'Bucky' Buckingham, from Hellesdon, who joined in 1950. He said he was in no doubt what the enduring appeal of the group was.

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'It is the comradeship of us all,' he said. 'You feel that if you are ever in trouble there is always someone you can turn to, to help you out.

'It is a lovely, lovely feeling and I don't think I would have got on so well in my life without the scouts.'

Bert Hume, 74, who joined the 11th Norwich in 1949 as a cub scout and was a scout leader between 1956 and 1982, agreed.

'There's no doubt about it,' he said. 'The camaraderie of our age goes on and on.'

The Rev Trevor Parkerson, 67, travelled back to Norfolk from his parish in Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire, to meet up with old friends from the group which he joined in 1953.

He said: 'The standards you learn at the scout movement, and all the shared values they give you, provide a foundation which stand you in very good stead when you get older. I moved away in 1986, but it is wonderful to come back here, meeting up with people and chatting over the old times.'

While some of the guests enjoyed a barbecue and campfire, others scoured displays of photographs and catalogues of memorabilia from throughout the previous century.

Group chairman Marc Middleton, who is known throughout the Scouting fraternity as Naggs, said: 'I have been involved with it for too many years to remember, and sometimes you don't see people for 15 years, but suddenly you meet up and it's: 'Hello mate, how are you?' – like not a day has gone past. That is what the 11th is all about.'

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