Meldreth Girl Guides 1955-1973
Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts as an organisation in 1908, a few months after the first scout encampment at Brownsea Island Scout Camp in 1907. The idea came from his experiences with the British Army in South Africa. Girls also became interested and started forming their own groups and calling themselves ‘Girl Scouts’. Camping and hiking among girls was uncommon at the time, nevertheless Girl Scouts were registered at Scout Headquarters. In 1909 there was a Boy Scouts’ Rally at Crystal Palace in London. Among the thousands of Boy Scouts, at the rally were several hundred Girl Scouts who asked Baden-Powell if they could join in. Following negative publicity in “The Spectator” magazine Baden-Powell decided that a separate single-sex group would be best so he asked his sister Agnes Baden-Powell to form a separate Girl Guides organisation and in 1910 The Girl Guides were officially formed in the United Kingdom. The first Guide Company to be registered was 1st Pinkneys Green Guides (Miss Baden-Powell’s own), who still exist in Pinkneys Green, Maidenhead, Berkshire. Many, though not all, Girl Guide and Girl Scout groups across the globe trace their roots back to this point.
In 1914 Lord Baden-Powell’s wife Olave first offered to help but was turned down. However, after the re-organisation of the Girl Guides in 1915 she again offered to help and started organising Guiding in Sussex. She became the County Commissioner for Sussex in March 1916 and in October that year the first conference for County Commissioners was held when the Commissioners unanimously requested that Olave take the role as Chief Commissioner. In 1918 she was acclaimed Chief Guide, a title which she much preferred to Chief Commissioner.
Olave led the Guide Movement worldwide for forty years, travelling all over the globe helping to establish and to encourage the Guide Movements in other countries, and bringing membership to over six and a half million worldwide. At the age of 80 she was diagnosed with diabetes which eventually led to her death, aged 88 in 1977.
On enrolment, all Guides make the following promise:
“I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide Law.”
1st Meldreth Guides 1955-1963
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 Holy Trinity Church. They held their meetings in Meldreth School. The Company was disbanded in 1963 and was not re-formed until 1973, when the 3rd Meldreth Guides was formed. In the meantime, there was a Guide company at Meldreth Manor School (see below).
2nd Meldreth Guides
The 2nd Meldreth Guides were formed in 1971 solely for pupils at Meldreth Manor School, with Mrs D Wingfield as their Captain. This Company continued with various Captains until 1977. There was no Company during 1978 but it was re-formed in 1979 and continued under the leadership of various Captains and Deputies until 1998.
The Captains and their Deputies were as follows:
1971 Captai Mrs D Wingfield
1972-74 Captain Mrs J Adey
1975-78 Captain Miss G Ashwell
1979-80 Captain Miss J Anderson
1981-84 Captain Mrs J Whiffen / Deputy Mrs C Cole
1985-86 Captain Mrs C Charnick
1987-90 Captain Mrs C Charnick / Deputy Miss C Fallon
1991-92 Captain Ms L Woodland / Deputy Miss C Fallon
1993 Captain Miss C Fallon
1994-98 Captain Ms C Lloyd
3rd Meldreth Guides 1973
The Meldreth Guides were re-formed on 8 June 1973 as 3rd Meldreth Guides, after a lapse of ten years. 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 – and were enrolled by the District Commissioner Mrs Harrison on 20 July.
A second Enrolment Night was held on 26 October. The Guides enrolled were: Helen Burling, Julie Southern, Joanne Hart, Daniella Streek, Janice Chamberlain, Alice Terrell and Sally Phllips. Karen Burns was unable to attend and was enrolled on 9 November.
On 24 November the Guides, Brownies and Cubs planted a tree outside the Village Hall (see newspaper cutting above).
On 8 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.