From the Thorley Archives

The History of the Thorley (St. James) Scout Group

The 1st Thorley (St. James) Scout Group was formed in January 1956 by the Rector, Rev. S.E.F. Robinson, Cub Mistress, Beryl King and Scout Master, Peter Steggles. The Cub Pack consisted of 12 boys and then in the following March, 6 boys formed the Scout Troop. By March 1957 the group comprised 19 Cubs and 15 Scouts. A Senior Scout section was added towards the end of 1957.

 The first camp was at Marble Bridge Farm, Sidlesham, West Sussex with equipment borrowed from the 1stBishop’s Stortford. Boys, leaders and equipment were transported there by lorry. By the next year the parents committee had worked hard and raised enough money to supply the troop with their own equipment. Meetings at this time were held in the village hall.

Richard Robinson and Michael Camp receiving their 1st Class Scout Badges, 1960

Richard Robinson and Michael Camp receiving 
their 1st Class Scout Badges, 1960

During 1960, John Bishop (1st Class Scout and Silver Cord), together with other chosen Scouts, helped at the wedding of Princess Margaret and Mr Armstrong Jones. By 1961-62 the cub numbers had risen to 27 and during 1963 a waiting list was needed. The group now had moved into their own Scout Hut which was previously the Thorley Workingmen's Club.  Today this is the Venture Scout hut to the south of the Victorian post box in Church Lane. The Senior Scouts had their own room and were led by Senior Scout Leader, Charlie Norton. All sections continued to grow in numbers.

February 1965 was the year when the highest awards of Queen’s Scout were first awarded to the group. County Commissioner, Melville Ballsillie, presented four coveted certificates and badges to Michael Camp, John Charlish, David Loveday and Richard Robinson.  

In 1967 the Scouts uniform changed from shorts, khaki shirts and B.P.hat to long trousers, green shirts and the beret.

 By 1973 the old hut was very crowded and new accommodation was sought. The old Thorley school was available but derelict. After negotiations with Colonel Venn and Mr Vic Wallis of the Urban District Council, a long lease was forthcoming for the school premises. Fund raising was the order of the day and after much renovation new Thorley Headquarters were opened in April 1975 by the County Commissioner.

 The Group continues to go from strength to strength under dedicated leadership. At the beginning of 2001 the Group has 1 Beaver colony, 3 Cub Scout packs, 2 Scout troops and a Venture unit. This adds up to 200 members enthusiastically led by its leaders. There is still a long waiting list.

 Recently the old hut in Thorley Lane has been purchased from St. James Church and hopefully it will be rebuilt for future use by one of the many sections of our flourishing Thorley (St. James) Scout Group.

Reg Jacobs

From the Archives