Well, it’s over a week now into the summer holidays!
During the summer term our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts did a great many activities which included visits, camps, hikes and boating!
Our Beaver, Cubs and Scouts are on holiday now, but not our talented drums. The summer is their busiest time and they have already played Bakewell Carnival – keep an eye out for them at many events over the next few weeks.
A couple of weeks ago, as part of their Environment Challenge, the Cubs decided to improve their local community. They went out to the park area behind Bradwell Lodge and to the Dingle to collect litter.
The Cubs returned to the hall having collected 2 bin liners full of rubbish!
As part of the District’s St. George’s Day Parade, service of celebration and Promise renewals, the District asked that we give a short talk about remembering Scouts in the First World War.
Our Group Scout Leader, Nick, said the following –
On 11th November this year we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the 1st World War. On that day, there will be many events to commemorate the end of that war and to remember those who were killed in that and subsequent wars.
A lot of you may be thinking “why and so what?”, as these were events that happened a century ago.
Let me take you back to 1918. In that year we know there are Scouts in Audley, Basford, Porthill, in Newcastle Town Centre and there are Scouts, Guides, Brownies and Cubs all over Newcastle and North Staffordshire (sorry Beavers and Rainbows, you will have to wait around 60 – 70 years before your sections start) and they did what you all do today. They did activities that were challenging, exciting, fun and adventurous, but without social media, mobile phones and computers! But as well, they helped with the war effort at home. The Scouts of North Staffordshire raised money to buy an ambulance and some local Scoutmasters became Police Special Constables. Scouts and Guides even worked for MI5 in London!
But what of the people? I want to introduce you to John Tomlinson. We don’t know a great deal about him and this rather poor photo is the only one we have of him. John was born in Hanley in January or February 1898. He probably joined the Scout Troop at Porthill in 1909 when he was 11 years old. In 1911, when he was 13 years old, John and his family lived in Catherine Street, May Bank (his house is still there today by the way) and he worked as an apprentice at Twyfords pottery in Cliffe Vale.
In September 1914, a month after the start of the Great War, John went to volunteer to join the army in the North Staffordshire Regiment. He shouldn’t have been able to join the army as he was 16 years old, but the recruiting sergeant probably told him to go away, have a quick walk around the block and think about his age again. When he returned to the recruitment centre, he would have been 19 years old and then a private in the army. He was quickly transferred into the 20th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). John was sent to France in August 1915 and that September and October he fought in the famous Battle of Loos and during this battle he was wounded by an exploding artillery shell.
He recovered from his wounds, fought on and the following year he was fighting in the Battle of the Somme. Sadly, on 6th November 1916, he died of the wounds he received. He is buried in the Grove Town Cemetery in France. John was just 18 years old.
John is one of the 18 men who died during the First World War who had been Scouts at Porthill. There were 2 men killed during the war who had been Scouts at the 2nd St. Pauls Troop in Newcastle. It is highly likely that some of the men from Audley who were killed in the war were Audley Scouts, but unfortunately records do not survive. There were many men from across the whole of North Staffordshire killed in the First World War who had been Scouts.
Basford, Porthill & Silverdale Scout Groups have their own Memorials to remember Scouts like John and do so each year on Remembrance Day.
On Remembrance Day every year, we pay special homage to those who died, like John, in service to their country. We remember these brave men and women for their courage and their devotion to ideals. We wear poppies, attend ceremonies, and visit memorials. For one brief moment of our life, we remember why we must work for peace every day of the year.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
This was followed by members of the Drum Corps playing the Last Post followed by Reveille.
On Sunday, we joined Scouts from across the District to parade in Newcastle Town centre to commemorate the patron saint of Scouting, St. George.
Over 300 Scouts and their volunteer Leaders, gathered at The Queens Gardens Newcastle before parading at 2.45pm along The Ironmarket, via High Street to St Giles Church for a service.
Newcastle’s Town Cryer, Mr Gordon Brayford, helped enhance the sense of occasion and our Drum Corps lead the parade, followed by Scouts from the District and invited representatives from the Girl Guides.
As the parade passed by the Cenotaph in High Street, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Wing Commander Elliott Sharrard Williams together with the Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Simon White took the salute. The parade then processed in to church for a celebratory service, renewing Promise and a celebration of Scouting and local Scouting activities. As 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, part of the service commemorated Scouts who gave their lives during this conflict and the story of one of our Scouts, John Tomlinson, was told.
In Church, two of the Scouts were presented with the Chief Scout’s Gold Award and John and Nick were presented with long service awards..
On Saturday morning, the Beavers all met at Stoke railway station so they could catch the train to Cadbury World!
After the journey to Birmingham, it was a quick change of train to Bournville and a short walk to Cadbury World itself. Once inside the Beavers learned about the history of chocolate and the Cadbury company and got to see how their favourite chocolates are made.
They met the cocoa bean and Cream Egg, wrote their names in chocolate, visited the 4D cinema and even got to eat some chocolate and bring some home!
It was then time to catch the train back again for parents to pick up the Beavers from the station!
One hundred years ago today, nearly three and a half years into the Great War and only four days after the previous Scout died, Private Harold Bailey, 36622 King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 9th Battalion died age 19.
Harold was a Porthill Scout, and was the fourteen of eighteen of our Scouts, that we know of, that were killed in the Great War.
On Friday, the Beavers and Cubs were visited by paramedic Jay, who brought along an ambulance to show them. Jay explained what goes on in the ambulance, showed the Beavers how to do do CPR and reminded everyone when they might need to call for a paramedic by ringing 999. Some of the Beavers and Cubs got to turn on the blue lights (but not the siren, we didn’t want to upset the neighbours)!
Jay also showed the Beavers how paramedics use a stretcher and strapped Rachael to one so she couldn’t escape was safe and secure!
Many thanks to Jay for coming to show the Beavers and Cubs all about paramedics and ambulances.
The Scout Association annual membership fees are now due. The fee for this year is £38 per member. Porthill Scout Group do not keep this money, it has to be paid directly to the Scout Association to run the organisation.
This cost runs into thousands of pounds for our Group and the swift collection of this membership fee is vital to the future of the Group. The executive committee therefore has stated that all fees must be paid by 20th April. If your child’s fees are not paid by that date then, unfortunately, they may no longer be able to attend.
The payments are processed by PayPal, in the same way you can pay online for items from retailers such as Domino’s Pizza or Interflora. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay (you can use your credit or debit card) and all the payments are taken via PayPal’s website, so you can be sure that your details are secure, and we do not keep any of your card details. Once the payment has been made, you will receive a receipt via email.
If you wish to pay by cash or cheque, please send this to your son’s /daughter’s next Scout / Cub / Beaver meeting. Receipts will be provided for any cash payments. Please make cheques payable to “1st St Andrews Porthill Scout Group”. If your child is a new member, please can you also ask to complete a Gift Aid declaration form (available from section leaders).
If you have any queries regarding this payment, please speak to your section leader.
Thank you. Yours in Scouting Kevin – Group Treasurer
On Friday, the Beavers and Cubs had their Christmas parties at Laser Quest in Newcastle. The evening was made even more special as some Imperial Stormtroopers and Jedi Knights happened to pop by!
As well as meeting the forces of the Light and Dark sides of the Force, the Beavers and Cubs each had two games of laser quest, played pass the parcel, the chocolate game (rules available on request), had their party food from McDonald’s and went home with a selection box!
Everyone had a brilliant time and the Stormtroopers made it even more special
The Stormtroopers and Jedi are from the Stormtroopers of Stoke and were raising money for Douglas Macmillan Hospice.
Co-incidentally the Scouts are off to see Star Wars this week!
We’re very pleased to announce that two of our adult helpers and Leaders have recently been presented with awards recognising their work in Scouting.
Firstly our Treasurer, Kevin, has been awarded the 15 years service award. Kevin has been our treasurer all this time and, more recently, the District treasurer as well. Many people help the Group who are not Leaders and we are pleased when they get recognised, like Kevin, for all they do for our young people.
Secondly, our Beaver Leader, Rachael, has been awarded the Chief Scout’s Commendation for Good Service. This is given in respect of not less than 5 years good service, which stands out. It should be regarded as the Chief Scout’s recognition of the very real contribution made to the Association by the individual concerned. Rachael was presented the award in front of the cast of the Burdi Boys Gang Show last week where she had the role of producer.
Congratulations to both Kevin and Rachael, we are very proud of you both!