Somerford’s heritage

20th Christchurch (Somerford) Registration Number 31446

On 15th July 1954 this Group was registered. The Cubmaster was Mr Basil Wood with 24 Wolf Cubs and the Scoutmaster was Mr Leonard Preston with 21 Scouts. The Group met in St. Marys Church Hall, Amethyst Road until the Scout Hut in Edward Road was opened in 1957. From the start this Group was situated on a new and fast growing housing estate. The demand was such that it was necessary to form a second Cub Pack in 1959, the two packs were named Raksha and Kaa’s. Subsequently this resulted in an overflow to the Troop and so a second Troop was formed in 1960, the Troops were named Rowallan and Maclean.

The Group became well known for their summer camps in Holland and exchanges with Dutch Groups lead by leaders Bob and Rick Rawles and after 1969 by Scout Leader George Haynes who later became Group Scout Leader.

The first Beaver Colony in Christchurch was formed by the Somerford Group in 1985 led by Linda and Andy Haynes.

In 1988 George Haynes died as the result of an accident and his wife Dot took over as Group Scout Leader, having previously been the Cub Leader, a position now taken by their daughter Sue Old. Dennis Miller took over as Group Scout Leader in 2001 following Dot Haynes’ retirement.

The Group scored another first when they admitted girls into the Pack and Troop in 1991, seven years before any other Group in the District.

A party was held in the Portfield Drill Hall in 1994 to celebrate the Group’s 40th anniversary, Scouts from past and present attending.

Somerford Group is justifiably proud of their splendid record of service to others. Since 1969 the Group have always entertained the senior citizens of Somerford with a Christmas tea party, where each one receives a present and a card. At the party the Scouts usually perform a pantomime, the Cubs a Nativity play and the Beavers a little sketch. As well as looking after the older folks, the Group does a good turn every year for some children’s charity, having bought a motorised go-kart for a disabled boy to enable him to become independently mobile and also a clock with large numbers for the Portfield Autistic School. The Group has also supported children in Romania, Afghanistan and Bosnia having at one time knitted 175 children’s jumpers and they have now adopted an orphanage in Albania. Nearer to home they collect annually for Children in Need in Saxon Square.