Scouts and Cubs
The Boy Scout movement was started as an experiment in August 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell, who the following January published his famous book ‘Scouting for Boys’, said to be one of the best selling books of all time. He was a cavalry officer in the Boer Wars and his aim was to develop good citizenship, chivalrous behaviour, and skills in various outdoor activities. The idea proved to be incredibly popular; the movement quickly took off throughout the country and spread throughout the rest of the world.
Scout troops and cub packs were soon established in Faringdon and all over the district. Local camps took place at Radcot. They all got together at the Whitsun Camp at Uffington every year to pick a troop to compete for the county banner, which was held every year at Reading.
According to their website, the 1st Faringdon Scouts was founded in 2010. It runs three age groups, a beaver colony, cub pack and scout troop, welcoming boys and girls from Faringdon and the surrounding villages from ages 6 to 14. By 2018 there were three groups for each unit, providing scouting adventures for over 100 children in the town.
This article from the Faringdon Advertiser in 1931 shows that Guides and Brownies were well established in Faringdon and the surrounding district; almost every village had its own group. There were two Guide groups and a Brownie group in Faringdon at that time.
There was no Guiding in Faringdon when Mr and Mrs Reeves arrived to live in the town in the 1940’s. Possibly the movement had been allowed to elapse during the war.
Nancy Reeves had always been an active member of Guiding, in Bournemouth, so she began Guiding here. She ran both 1st Faringdon Guides and Brownies for many years. (She was also founder and Head of the Ferndale School in Bromsgrove 1952-79 . Her husband Bill started up Faringdon Dramatic Society in 1948; both of them and their son Tim were very active members; Nancy for nearly 50 years!).
Mrs Joyce Harrison (also District Commissioner in Faringdon) was a Brownie Guider for 30 years with the 1st Faringdon Brownies along with Mrs Pat Fox. At one time there were 4 Brownie units and 2 Guide companies in Faringdon. Now there are three groups: Rainbows (ages 5-7), 2nd Faringdon Brownies (ages 7-10), and 3rd Faringdon Guides (ages 10-14).
The Brownies meet for two hours every week. They are always out and about whenever possible. Many visits have taken place in the past, including places such as Clearwell Caves, including deep level caving, Macaroni Woods, and the Palace of Westminster. They were invited by the Pearly King and Queens to lead the Harvest Festival service offering at St Martin-in-the-Field which was a great honour. Camping has taken place at Sibford Gower, Sutton Courtney and St Hugh’s. They have made eye fringes for ‘Horses in Tunisia’ and raised lots of money for an ‘Eye Appeal’, with appropriate speakers to come and speak to the girls so they had an insight of what they were making things for.
Two photograph albums about Faringdon Guides and Brownies and Pack Holiday albums of the 1st Faringdon Brownies are stored in the society archives.