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Copyright© 1st Claygate Scout Group 2002 --

(Last updated: 06 September, 2017)
Those that have [Gone Home] but not forgotten
History of Claygate Scouts (Order the Group [History])
Formed in 1909, Claygate Scouts was proud to celebrate its 90th anniversary in the Millennium year but now we are a 110+!

The first of the ‘modern’ Group Shows in 1975 was masterminded by Jem Salter and his Assistant Group Scout Leader Ken Mallery. The success of this event led to the staging of Group Shows every two or three years up to the present time.

The first minibus was purchased by the Group – an elderly ex- Age Concern ambulance, in 1979. This was replaced in 1982 by a more modern vehicle at the cost of £2,500. Also in 1982 a garage was donated to the Group and this was erected in the grounds for use as a canoe store and by 1986 the Group had acquired 10 canoes. Canoeing and sailing remain popular and other Scout and Venture Scout activities include caving and rock climbing.

In 1986 the Scout Troop took 28 boys to Norway under the leadership of Eoin Redahan which included one week at a Norwegian National Sea Scout jamboree at Grimstad, near Kristiansand with some 600 Norwegian Sea Scouts. The Christmas Postal Delivery within the Claygate Parish boundaries was set up in 1985 to raise funds for ‘Operation Norway’ and has continued every December since that time.

In 1984 Jem Salter was awarded the Silver Acorn, but in 1985 due to work pressures he stood down as Group Scout leader after 15 years building up the Group until it was the largest in the Esher District and County of Surrey. John Baldwin then became the third Group Scout Leader in over seventy five years of unbroken Scouting in Claygate.

In June 1986 the first Beaver Colony – Maple was started for 6 – 8 year olds with 24 members. Their Programme was based on the motto ‘Fun & Friends’.

In 1987 the Venture Unit went to Iceland to explore and map a previously uncharted underground lava cave complex. The terrain was extremely rugged and desolate but the members of the expedition completed their task and also discovered a previously unknown cave which they named after their Unit – Selachii. They were given much help by the Young Explorers Trust of Great Britain, and were presented with an award by the Trust in relation to their Survey of the caves.

Following the success of the 1986 Norwegian Camp, the Group hosted the 7th Kristiansand Troop from Norway in 1988 and some 136 Scouts, Venture Scouts, Norwegian Scouts, Leaders and local Claygate and Hinchley Wood Guides and Rangers joined together for a superb camp of multi-outdoor activities at Staverton, Devon. The Norwegian Scouts were given home hospitality in Claygate which included two days of London trips.

Due to the popularity of the Beavers a second Colony named Sycamore was formed in 1989, and a new activity for the Group – the 1st Claygate Scout Band - was started in the autumn. This proved very popular and in 1991 the Band achieved its first major achievement winning the Novice Class at the Kingston Youth Band Competition at Tolworth with an average age of 11years.

The Group returned to Norway in 1990 enjoying home hospitality with 7th Kristiansand as well as joining a Sea Scout Jamboree of some 1,100 at Risor In 1992 there was a second Norwegian return visit and an excellent camp including 40 of our Troop to Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales.

Tom Barnfield had held the post of Group President from 1971 until his death in 1980 and in 1993 the Group Scoutmaster, John Baldwin invited Jem Salter to take up this appointment – a post that he still holds.

Mark Brittle, a member of the Venture Unit attended the 1995 World Jamboree in the Netherlands as one of the two representatives of the Esher District. He was later given home hospitality in Denmark and at the same time twenty Japanese Scouts who had also been attending the Jamboree were hosted in Claygate. The visitors spent a week in the village and were taken on several trips to London and other places of interest. Also in 1995 the Venture Unit organised their Summer expedition to go mountain walking in the Czech Republic.

The Band continued to build on its success and attended many Group and District events as well as taking part in National Competitions. Ann Etheridge, the founding Bandmaster resigned in 1995 and was replaced by Ian White and later in 1977 Daraius Master became the Bandmaster.

In 1999 the group marked its 90th Anniversary with a variety of events : a Group Show, a Group Camp with firework display, Anniversary Dinner, publication of ‘The Group’- a history of 1st Claygate Scout Group, and a Service of Dedication at Holy Trinity Church as well as photographs of all the Group Sections and Leaders.

And so to the new millennium. Mark Aulds succeeded John Baldwin as Group Scout Leader in March 2000. The Claygate Scout & Guide Band(**) reformed in 2001 under the expert direction of bandmaster Robin Wilkinson, and a Group Show “Around the World in 95 Years” was staged in March 2004. To cope with a boom in numbers in 2003 Jaguar Cub Pack was closed and Oak Colony began followed by the opening of Lynx Pack in 2007 to cope with the ripple which included the intake of girls from January 2007.

After many years of planning the Group moved to its present site at the Claygate Scout Centre in Oaken Lane in January 2006 with the official opening performed by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Mrs Sarah Goad on Saturday 4th March 2006 in the presence of the Chief Scout Peter Duncan, members of the Group and many other local dignitaries. In February 2008 Mark Aulds was succeeded as Group Scout Leader by Hugh Gostling who had led the Scout Troop for 21 years until July 2007.

Over the years many Scouting honours have been awarded to members of the Group and the 1st Claygate Scout Group continues to be one of the largest and most successful, providing boys and girls with exciting and appropriate activities whilst upholding the fundamental principles of Scouting.

(**) The Group Scout & Guide Band was allocated its own area of the Web Site in September 2014 with its own History section. [Scout-Guide Band]

If you would like to know more about the history of the Group, copies of
“The Group’ - A history of 1st Claygate Scout Group, 1909 – 1999”
are available - 'Click' the book for more information.