3rd Meldreth Girl Guides


The earliest record of a Guide Company in Meldreth is in 1955 when it was led by their Captain Mrs Carol Mead and her Assistant Mrs Audrey Hollamby. They were known as the 1st Meldreth Guides (Holy Trinity) as their colours had been blessed in Meldreth’s Holy Trinity Church. The Company was disbanded in 1963 and did not re-form until 1973. In the meantime, 2nd Meldreth Guides was formed at Meldreth Manor School.


After a lapse of ten years, the 1st Meldreth Guides were re-formed on 8th June 1973 as 3rd Meldreth Guides. The first meeting was held in the new Village Hall with Mrs M Counsell as Guider and Mrs Payne and Mrs Weir as Assistant Guiders. Thirteen guides attended the first meeting: Linda Saunders, Serena Clark, Debbie Anderson, Karen Webb, Suzanne Dummett, Della Jeavons, Elizabeth and Jane Askew, Susan Berry, Ann Graver, Helen Catley, Jane Gilbert and Stella Reynolds – who were enrolled by the District Commissioner Mrs Harrison on 20th July.

A second enrolment evening was held on 26th October. The Guides enrolled were:  Helen Burling, Julie Southern, Joanne Hart, Daniella Streek, Janice Chamberlain, Alice Terrell and Sally Phillips. Karen Burns was unable to attend and was enrolled on 9th November.

On 24th November the Guides, Brownies and Cubs planted a tree outside the Village Hall (see newspaper cutting below).

On 8th December the Guides had a trip to London, starting with lunch at Baden-Powell House and then visiting the Science Museum, The Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Several fund raising events were held during the year including coffee mornings and a jumble sale and the year ended with a Christmas Party at Meldreth Manor School.


Guiders: Mrs Counsell, Mrs Payne and Mrs Weir

Three Guide patrols took part in an International Challenge which consisted of choosing a country and then creating a scrapbook. The competition was a Patrol effort but was won by Helen Burling as she had contributed most of the work. The Patrol and Mrs Counsell were invited to an International Day at Guide HQ in Cambridge where they were able to see displays of entries from other Guide Companies.

They held their first Thinking Day with the Meldreth Manor Guides at the Manor School. Each Patrol chose a country and cooked food from there. Everyone then enjoyed tasting each country’s cuisine.

In May Mrs Counsell gained her Guiders’ Warrant after completing her Adult Leader’s Certificate.  This was presented to her by the District Commissioner Mrs Handscombe at a Guides’ evening, and she was now able to enroll her own Guides.

From, 28th May to 31st May the Guide held their Summer Camp. Twelve guides in two patrols went to Caxton District Camp: Janet Phillips, Linda Saunders, Serena Clarke, Joanne Hart, Ann Graver, Daniella Streek, Stella Reynolds, Karen Webb, Julie Southern, Joanne Chamberlain, Tori Evenden, and Helen Catley, together with their Guiders, Mrs Counsell, Mrs Payne, Mrs Weir and other helpers. The weather was quite good and they catered for themselves the whole time. There was another guide camp in the next field and they all enjoyed getting together round the campfire in the evenings. (See photographs 3 and 4 below)

On 7th June they celebrated their first birthday since re-forming, holding a barbeque with the Meldreth Manor School Guides at Meldreth Manor School.

In the summer they held two junior discos, raising around £15 for funds. Another disco was held in the autumn but was not so successful.

In August Mrs Counsell was invited by Gamlingay Guide Company to join them at a camp in East Grinstead, Sussex.  She thoroughly enjoyed her time there and learned a lot about camping.

In September the Guides helped out at the Manor School fete.

In December they went carol singing to all the old folks in the village, finishing at Mrs Counsell’s home for supper.


Guiders: Mrs Counsell, Mrs Payne and Mrs Weir

On 16th January the Guides held their 1974 Christmas party which everyone agreed was a good start to the New Year.

On 6th February they held a Valentine Card completion.  The winner was Cindy Coventon and the runner up was Ann Graver.

On 27th February they held their third Thinking Day.

In the Easter holidays Daniella Streek, Stella Reynolds and Cindy Coventon took part in a sponsored walk at Bassingourn Barracks in aid of The National Institute for the Blind, raising just over £17 between them.

The last meeting of the term was held on 17th July was and a sad one as it had been decided to suspend Guide meetings for at least next term as Mrs Counsell was expecting a baby in October and Mrs Payne and Mrs Weir were unable to continue by themselves. Also, no doubt due to the present circumstances, they had lost nine guides from the Company. Those remaining were Helen Burling, Stella Reynolds, Helen Catley, Karen Birkenshaw, Sarah Ingerfield, Linda Thompson, Elizabeth Sims, Daniella Streek and Teri Evenden. During this term Mrs Payne had kindly allowed the Guides to meet in her garden where they had practised their camping skills, which hopefully they could use the following summer.


Guiders: Mrs Counsell and Mrs Elliott

Mrs Counsell returned after having her baby in October 1975. Mrs Payne and Mrs Weir had decided that they could no longer commit to being Guiders but agreed to be Unit Helpers. Mrs Elliott of Bassingbourn, who had helped previously, agreed to help once more so with plenty of helpers the Guides resumed their meetings after the February half term holiday. As numbers were small the Guides met temporarily at Mrs Counsell’s house. On 4th March regular meetings began and as numbers had now increased it was decided to go back to holding meetings in the Village Hall.

Somewhat later this year they held their Thinking Day. Once again the Guides chose food from a country which they cooked and then displayed. The evening ended with sing-in and a candle ceremony.

On 8th April the Guides decorated eggs and then held a traditional egg rolling contest. On 15th April they held an enjoyable flower arranging evening at 17 Manor Road.

On 20th May they held their first enrolment night since their break and Cathy Elbourn, Ashley Prince and Alison Osborne were enrolled.

On 22nd May a very successful Jumble Sale was held in the Village Hall raising £50 for funds.

On 3rd June Mrs Counsell and Mrs Elliott and the Guides went camping. Mrs Elbourn had kindly allowed them to use some of her land in Meldreth and everyone had a very enjoyable time.

On 10th June the Guides celebrated their third birthday with the Guides at the Manor School. Mrs Payne and Mrs Weir were also invited.

On 15th July they finished the term with an enrolment evening once again held on land in Chiswick End with the kind permission of Mrs Elbourn. Seven Guides were enrolled, and the evening ended with singing round the camp fire.

27-30th July was Summer Camp.  The Guides camped for three days in a field in Chiswick End.  There were two patrols, Valerie Langford, Helen Burling, Helen Catley, Teri Evenden, Elizbeth Slade, Elizabeth Sims, Sharon Ingraham, Ann Limming and Lindy Thomas. The first day was spoilt as a lot of guides became ill and had to go home, but the rest managed to carry on and enjoyed themselves in spite of everything.

On Sunday 19th September the Guides Promise Service took place at Ely Cathedral. Meldreth Guides and Manor School Guides travelled together. Helen Burling carried the Union Jack. (See photograph 5 below)

On 21st October the Guides held a ‘Spell In’ and £20 was raised for County and Divisional funds.  Guides taking part were Sharon Ingram, Elizabeth Sims, Katherine Elbourn, Lindy Thomas, Amanda Stanford, Ann Liming, Alayne Prince, Alison Osborn and Sandra Payne.

On Thursday 4th November they held a Halloween Party. All the guides dressed in Halloween costumes and played party games including bobbing for apples. The evening ended with refreshments and a scary ghost story!

On 25th November the Guides held a successful Coffee Evening, raising £25 for funds.

On Saturday 11th December they held a Christmas Bazaar in the Village Hall raising £14. Also, in December the Guides attended a Carol Service at Meldreth Manor School. Three Guides took part in the concert; they were Sharon Ingram, Helen Burling and Cathy Elbourn.

On 23rd December some of the Guides went carol singing round the village, finishing with refreshments at Mrs Counsell’s house.


Guiders: Mrs Counsell and Mrs Elliott

The Christmas Party was held on 6th January and thirteen new guides were welcomed into the Company.

17th February was Enrolment Night which was the biggest so far, with twelve guides enrolled. They were Fiona Cambridge, Sharon Rowell, Suzanne Lee, Kim Kenzie, Melanie Waldock, Joanne Taylor, Nicola Chilvers, Louise Davies, Louise Aldridge, Ashley McMullen, Susan Hurley and Leanne Horne.

Sunday 20th February was District Thinking Day at Steeple Morden Church. The Company Flag was dedicated at the service and Helen Burling read a prayer. The Flag Bearer was Elizabeth Slade and the Escorts were Alison Osborne and Alayne Prince, Union Jack carriers were Judy Owen Smith, Helen Catley and Anthea Slade.

On 17th March a disco for 60 pupils was held at The Manor School.

On 19th March Meldreth Guides and Meldreth Manor Guides attended a get-together for the County Extension Guides in Cambridge.

On 6th April the Guides took part in a sponsored knit in the Village Hall, raising nearly £50.

On 7th April the Guides, Cubs and Brownies held a Coffee Morning in the Village Hall. £30 was raised, giving £10 for each group.

On 19th April Helen Burling, Elizabeth Slade, Cathy Elbourn and Clare Hogan went to Cambridge Fire Station to gain their Firefighter’s badge.

On 21st April they had a Day Camp at Chiswick End.

On 21st May the Guides held a Jumble Sale in the Village Hall. It was not well supported but managed to raise £22 which, together with the money raised from the sponsored knit, enabled the purchase of a tent for camp.

Tuesday 7th June was the Queen’s Jubilee Day. The weather was not very good, but all the Meldreth Guides joined in the village celebrations. This began at 1.30pm with a parade from the Village Hall. They carried their flags to the Stocks joining the village children who had dressed in costume and decorated their bikes. At the Stocks a commemorative sign was unveiled and dedicated by the Rev. Alan Heawood.  They then continued to join in with the village celebrations for the rest of the dayThe Guides were given a commemorative badge as a memento of the day. (See Photo 4 below.)

Summer Camp was held from 8th-11th June. The theme was Jubilee and the patrols were:
Queen Victoria – Helen Catley, Sandra Payne Alayne Prince, Alison Osborne and Nicola Chilvers;
Queen Elizabeth – Elizabeth Slade, Judy Owen-Smith, Kim Kenzie, Melanie Waldock and Helen Oliver;
Lions and Unicorns – Helen Burling, Valerie Langford, Clare Hogan and Joanna Taylor.

On 9th July the Guides took part in the Village Fayre celebrations, organising a treasure hunt and guess the weight of the cake.

On 21st July the Guides held a barbeque at Meldreth Manor.

On 5th August there was a Summer Camp at Swaffham Bulbeck. The theme was Commonwealth and the patrols were: New Zealand – Elizabeth Slade, Helen Catley, Ashley McMullen, Susan Hurley, Joanne Payne; Australia – Helen Burling, Sharon Ingram, Alayne Prince, Beverley Hartland, H Golden and Alison Rumbold. The weather was hot so in addition to the usual camp activities the Guides had a couple of trips to Bottisham to swim. On Wednesday they had a trip to Anglesey Abbey where they had a picnic lunch before looking round the house and grounds. The Guides continued with an enjoyable week with various activities and glorious sunny weather. (See Photo 7 below.)

On 1st September some of the Guides helped at the Manor School Fete including Sarah Payne, Kathy Osborne, Alison Osborne, Suzanne Lee, Karen Evans, Helen Catley, Ashley McMullen, Elizabeth Slade and Alayne Prince. The event raised about £3,000.

The highlight of the year for the Guides was on 6th October, when Helen Burling was presented with her Queen’s Guide Certificate and Badge. It was a particularly proud occasion for the group as Helen was the first Meldreth guide to receive this award (see photograph 8 below).

On Thursday 3rd November the Guides held a Halloween Party.

On 11th November District Guides held a get-together in the Village Hall. Only about half the Guides attended as it was wet and was not a Guides night. Some of the Guilden Morden Guides and Manor School Guides came along.

On Sunday 20th November a Memorial Service for Lady Baden Powell was held in Melbourn Church.  Mrs Counsell and several of the Guides attended and Colours were carried. (See Photo 9 below.)

On 24th November the Guides held a Coffee Morning raising £40 for funds.

A recruitment evening was held at Melbourn Village College on 28th November. Unfortunately, although 150 letters had been sent out to parents in the village, only three turned up which was very disappointing. However, it was worthwhile because, as a result, it was agreed that Melbourn Guides would be restarted, possibly in February of the following year.

In December the term ended with a visit to Meldreth Manor for the annual Carol Concert. There were choirs from local churches and Helen Burling played a piano solo.


Guiders: Mrs Counsell, Mrs Elliott and Mrs Rice

On 22nd February the evening meeting was attended by guides from Meldreth Manor School. Six guides were enrolled: Jane Billingham, Celia Burns, Johanne Payne, Lisa Topsam, Jeanette Colledge and Janice Ingram.

A Thinking Day service was held on 26th February in Bassingbourn. Several guides attended and exchanged Thinking Day cards after the ceremony. 

On 3rd March one of the Patrols went to Melbourn to attend a cookery competition with the Scouts. The Guides did not win but did very well. The competition was judged by Mrs Pinney.

On 6th March Mrs Counsell gave a short talk on flower arranging and the Guides then created their own arrangements which were highly praised,

On 16th March the term finished with a Music Night, with everyone bringing their favourite records to listen to.

A jumble sale was held on 15th April, raising £36 for funds.

On 19th April, there was a parents’ evening for camp. Only five Guides would be able to attend due to family holiday arrangements.

The Summer Camp started on 1st May in Mr and Mrs Elbourn’s orchard in Chiswick End.

On 27th May there was a camp at Swaffham Bulbeck and the Guides enjoyed a very hot week of various games and outings. (See photographs 10-14 below.)

Squirrels Patrol: Alayne Prince, Sandra Payne, Beverley Hartland, Lynn Oakman, Jane Billingham, Celia Burns
Badgers Patrol: Sharon Ingraham, Helen Catley, Johanne Payne, Lisa Topsam, Christina Frazer, Julia Rumbold
Foxes Patrol: Karen Evans, Judy Owen Smith, Alison Rumbold, Kim Kenzie, Julie Ingram, Jeanette Colledge

The Church Fete was held on 1st July and The Guides helped at the fete and received a letter of thanks from Mrs Joan Gipson on behalf of the Parochial Church Council.

The Sports Day at Melbourn Village College, which had been due to take place on 8th July, was cancelled due to wet weather.

On 12th July a Farewell Party was held for Mrs Counsell who was leaving the village. The evening was organised by Meldreth Guides and was also attended by the Meldreth Manor Guides and Brownies. Mrs Counsell was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a book on Cambridge. The party was also attended by Carol Mead who had been the leader of the first Guide Company in Meldreth in 1973. The Guides later received a letter of thanks from Mrs Counsell for such an enjoyable evening. Mrs Counsell’s successor was Mrs Rice (see photograph 15 below).

A visit to Cambridge took place on 1st August. This included a trip to the Folk Museum in the morning, followed by a picnic lunch on Jesus Green and a game of rounders. In the afternoon they visited the Archaeology Museum.

On 2nd August there was an open afternoon at Mrs Payne’s house.

On 9th August the Guides had a tour of Meldreth Church by Mrs Gipson, including a climb to the bell tower.

On 17th September Meldreth Manor School Summer Fete was held.  Once again, the Guides helped out and received a letter of thanks from the organiser.

On 1st October the Guides participated in the Harvest Festival in Meldreth Church.

On 14th October the Guides held a jumble sale and raised £50.50 for funds. They also received a letter from Mrs Rathbone thanking them for their helpful and courteous behaviour.

On 12th November the Guides took part in the Remembrance Day Parade.

On 17th November some of the Guides visited Addenbrookes Hospital to donate two soft toys to the Baby Ward. The toys were a large rabbit which had originally been made by Patrol Leader Kate Evans for a coffee evening, but as no-one had guessed its name it was decided to donate it to the hospital. The other was a toy made by Mrs Rice, the Guide Leader.

On 6th December the Guides held a party for the Over 60’s. (See article written by Helen Catley in photographs 17 and 18 and the newspaper cutting in photograph 19 below.)

On 18th December the Guides held a Christmas Fayre.

On 20th December, despite the snow, the Guides had a very enjoyable Christmas Party.


Guiders: Mrs Rice and Mrs Payne

In February there was a Thinking Day Service at Orwell Methodist Church.

On 24th March the Guides helped with the Meldreth Spring Fair in the Village Hall.

On 5th May the Guides held a Coffee Morning in the Village Hall raising about £28 for funds.

On 21st June Marian Oakman and Joan Fallon held a Silver Party at Marion’s house to raise funds towards the cost of a new tent for the Guides.

On 4th July the Brownies held a Coffee Morning to raise funds for the Guides camping equipment.  They raised £21.

On 21st July eleven Guides took part in a sponsored walk to raise money for camping equipment.

On 7th October there was a Harvest Festival at Meldreth Church.

Remembrance Day on 11th November involved a wreath-laying at Meldreth War Memorial followed by a service in Melbourn Church.

In December the Guides held a tea party to raise funds for Oxfam.


Guiders Mrs Rice and Mrs Payne

Thinking Day was held on 24th February. Guides, Brownies, Rangers and Guiders from the Melbourn District (140 units in all) gathered in Holy Trinity Church Meldreth. Mrs Denise Phillips addressed the congregation to explain the meaning of Thinking Day. Each group had two guides dressed in the uniform of another country. Meldreth Guides chose Japan and were represented by Sharon Rowell and Johanne Payne.

In May the Guides held their Summer Camp in Fowlmere. (See photographs 20 and 21 below.)

( N.B. These are the only recorded events for 1980.)

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