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Woodborough’s Heritage

Commemorating the centenary of the WWI armistice on 11th day of 11th month 1918

A montage of hand knitted poppies displayed on the railings to Governors’ Field

Woodborough Brownies & Guides

Brownies: The girls are determined not to be outdone by the boys and have, I’m glad to say, persuaded Miss Barbara Raynor to be Brown Owl of a Woodborough Brownie Pack. The Brownies will meet in the Vicarage on Thursdays at 6 p.m. beginning in the middle of January 1954.

Guides: Within a day or two the Woodborough Guide Company will have come into being. The Village will be grateful to Miss Barbara Raynor for taking them in addition to the Brownies.

July 1955 - After nearly 34 years as a Guide Leader in Woodborough first leading Brownies and then Guides, I have decided to retire, preferably as soon as possible, but certainly within the next 12 months. Miss Susan Cooling who this July will have completed 25 years as a Guide Leader, first with Brownies and later with Guides, also wishes to retire when I do. I am extremely grateful to Sue for the friendship, help and encouragement she has given me over the years.

Our excellent Unit Helper, Mrs Margaret Bagley, is retiring from Guides after July 1988.

Barbara Raynor, Guide Captain.

June 1988

Continuing on the centenary celebrations of the Woodborough Guides we thought readers might be interested to learn how it all started. This is a short story, written by Barbara Raynor in November 1985, and spans a period of 62 years.

Guiding in Woodborough began, we think, in 1923 in a room called “The Den” in Woodborough Hall. At that time, Miss Susan Dowson was Captain, but the Company was later run by her sister, Molly. They always had a parade on Christmas Day, and although they didn’t camp, they often cooked in the old brickyard in a field off Bank Hill.

One of the Guides planted a tree on the drive to the County Camp Site at Elton.

In 1932, the then existing Calverton Company had to close, so the Calverton Guides came to Woodborough.

In about 1938, the Dowsons left Woodborough and Guides had to stop. Some Woodborough girls went to a Company in Epperstone, captained by Miss Veronica Hogarth. They went by bus in winter, and walked in summer. One Guide of that time can remember picking Meadowsweet on the return journey.

In about 1938, Mrs Rowan-Robinson and her daughter, Katherine, began Brownies in Woodborough. They were the first Brownies ever. Mrs Rowan-Robinson was the wife of the village Vicar, but the first Brownies were still held in “The Den” at Woodborough Hall, even though the Dowsons had left by that time.

The Rowan-Robinsons were helped by Mrs Gaynor Jamson, the first Woodborough “Tawny Owl”.

In early 1940 Woodborough Hall was taken over by the Air Ministry, so the Rowan-Robinsons and Mrs Jamson continued Brownies in the Pancake Bell Tower Room at their own home, The Vicarage. When those first Brownies became Guide age, the Rowan-Robinsons re-started Guides, in addition to Brownies. This was in late 1940. In 1941, Miss Barbara Raynor became a Guide.

In early 1940, soldiers of the Wiltshire Yeomanry were billeted in the Pancake Tower Room and they carved their girlfriends’ names on the mantelpiece. At the time of writing this history two of the names could still be deciphered as Winifred and Betty.

An important Guiding/Scouting event in late 1940 was a Rally at Walesby, at which Lord Baden-Powell was present. The Woodborough Guides and Brownies were taken to the Rally.

Mrs Gaynor Jamson was awarded her Guide “Thanks Badge” for decorating the Tower Room.

In 1947, or perhaps a bit earlier, both Brownies and Guides ceased to function, we have been unable to ascertain why.

In early 1954, Miss D.E.S. Smith, the then Divisional Commissioner, contacted Miss Raynor to see if she would re-start Brownies or Guides, or both. Miss Raynor agreed and on 18th October 1954 Woodborough Brownies were re-registered at Headquarters. Miss Betty Burton and Miss Pat Foster (two Woodborough girls) had attended her 2nd Porchester (Miss Smith’s own Company) as Guides. Now as adults, they agreed to help Miss Raynor with the new Brownie Pack. When those Brownies became Guide age, Miss Raynor, Miss Burton and Miss Foster agreed to re-form a Guide Company, so on 11th October 1955 the 1st Woodborough Guide Company was re-registered at Headquarters.

Miss Smith had managed to find the Union flag and Company Colour of the very first (1923) Company, but the name “1st Woodborough” had been cut off the top, so Miss Cherith Charlton, a Guide, volunteered to sew on a new “1st Woodborough” in white tape, Cherith and her mother did an extremely good job.

The new Pack and Company both met on a Wednesday evening in the Pancake Bell Tower Room of the Vicarage, and were charged only 6d (2½ pence) a week as rent, which included use of the large garden, lawn, Dumble and orchard.

When the Rowan-Robinsons left Woodborough, the Pack and Company continued to flourish in The Institute on Roe Lane, and in April 1974 because of increasing numbers, both Pack and Company moved to the Village Hall, Lingwood Lane where, on 27th November 1985, the present Guide Company held its 30th Birthday Party. The actual date should have been 11th October, but the Company was busy with other commitments.

On 20th November 1985, to commemorate the 75th year of guiding (Nationally) and Woodborough’s present Company’s 30th year, four girls, Sarah Dudley, Lisa Kirkwood, Marguerite Robson and Holly Glenn made their Promises at a Ceremony in the Pancake Bell Tower Room in what is now called The Old Vicarage.

In July 1963, Miss Susan Cooling became Miss Raynor’s assistant, and was warranted as Tawny Owl until October 1972. Miss Raynor then left Brownies and Susan became Brownie Leader (Brown Owl) until April 1975. She became Assistant Guide Leader until 19th April 1989 when both Miss Raynor and Miss Cooling “retired” from Guides.