Gath­er­ing around the camp­fire to light the bea­con

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - REMEMBER WHEN? - by Mike Ben­nett

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.

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Hav­ing fun on the ae­rial run­way at the Ash­ford dis­trict camp mark­ing the cen­te­nary of scout­ing

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County Com­mis­sioner Kevin Hol­ford ar­rives by he­li­copter

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County Com­mis­sioner Kevin Hol­ford, sec­ond from left, with deputy county com­mis­sion­ers Viv Bur­rows, Neil Gear­ing and Ian Dodds

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Wait­ing for the camp­fire feast

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En­joy­ing the week­end’s out­door ac­tiv­i­ties

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So­phie Dyer, Chris El­liott and Luke Judges

Cub Cal­lum Rosser from 1st Willes­bor­ough

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Pig­gy­back rac­ers

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