Gathering around the campfire to light the beacon
BEAVERS, Cubs and Scouts made the best of bad weather to celebrate the centenary of scouting.
In one of the biggest group gatherings, more than 750 youngsters from six upwards spent the bank-holiday weekend under canvas in the perfect setting of the grounds of Godinton House.
Coming together in a spirit of friendship, as well as inter-group rivalry, it was a triumph of organisation and a strong signal that despite concerns about a minority of young people the vast majority still have much to offer.
At the first Ashford and District camp since Millennium year, which also suffered from torrential rain, they were able to experience a vast range of adventure challenges including rope walks, zipwires and swings built in the trees, and archery.
A beaming district commissioner Peter Day spent Saturday afternoon escorting VIPs around the vast campsite.
They included county commissioner Kevin Holford who arrived, much to the delight of the youngsters, by helicopter as he wanted to visit all nine Kent centenary camps in the day, and Ashford Mayor Cllr Rita Hawes.
After they had left, all gathered at dusk for the camp fire, lighting a beacon at the exact time that 200,000 other scouts across Britain were all marking the centenary of the Scout movement.
After inspecting the camp Ashford Scout Association chairman Cllr Bob Davidson praised the dedication of leaders that had made the event possible.
He said: “They are fantastic as each week they give up their time to offer young people opportunities by running the groups that give the chance of fun and friendly competition along with training and discipline.
“I am proud of all the youngsters here today and the standards they have reached but also of all the adult helpers. Sadly there is a shortage of those and I would urge more to volunteer.”
The camp had been organised on a site in Shadoxhurst but a late switch in venue had to be made as the field was unsuitable.
They were rescued when Godinton manager Nick Sandford agreed with farmer Peter Howard, who rents the grazing rights to the parkland for his stock, to allow the camp.
He immediately donated the fees paid to him for the disruption and removal of his animals to the Cancer Research UK charity walk challenge he is undertaking next month.
Having fun on the aerial runway at the Ashford district camp marking the centenary of scouting
County Commissioner Kevin Holford arrives by helicopter
County Commissioner Kevin Holford, second from left, with deputy county commissioners Viv Burrows, Neil Gearing and Ian Dodds
Waiting for the campfire feast
Enjoying the weekend’s outdoor activities
Sophie Dyer, Chris Elliott and Luke Judges
Cub Callum Rosser from 1st Willesborough