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4th Lancaster, 40 years celebration 1949

Forty Years Celebration

Lancaster Guardian and Observer,
Friday, 9 September, 1949

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11th at 6.30 p.m.

All Scouts, Guides and former members of the
4th Lancaster Group of Scouts
are especially invited to attend a special


To mark the formation of the Group.
Sunday, Sept. 11th, at 6.30 p.m.


The 4th Lancaster Group’s History

CELEBRATIONS in commemoration of 40 years’ continuous existence are taking place this week in connection with the 4th Lancaster (Wesley) Group. On Wednesday, all members had a party at Sulyard Street, tomorrow evening the B.P Guilders are having a dinner at the Co-operative Cafe, and on Sunday there is to be a special Service at the Wesley Church when all local Scouts, Cubs, Guides, Brownies, and Old Scouts are cordially welcome at 6.30 p.m. (For further particulars see advertisement columns).

The Beginning

I am indebted to Mr. R. E. Wright for a short history of the Group. In August 1909, the late Mr. W Fryers took the boys of his “Junior Society Class” at the Sulyard Street Wesley Church to camp at Arnside. At this camp the boys asked Mr. Fryers to start a troop of Boy Scouts. He considered himself, however, too old for such a venture and suggested that the boys should seek a younger man. On their return they asked Mr. R.E. Wright, one of the Sunday School teachers, to start a troop. He consented, the first meeting taking place at the end of the same month and has been functioning since without a break.

As no Lancaster Association was registered then, London headquarters allowed two patrols, the Curlew and Peewit, to operate and this registration card is in the troop archives. The Group therefore, owes a great deal to the fine spirit shown by the original twelve boys and particularly to Walter Butterworth and Herbert Dobson, the first patrol-leaders. The former is still interested, being a member of the 4th B. P. Guild, but the latter was killed in the 1914-18 war. When a Lancaster Association was ultimately formed in 1910, the Group was given the number “4”. Later a Cub Pack came into being, then a Rover Crew, and at all times progressive, the 4th have now a Senior Scout section and a branch of the B.P. Guild of Old Scouts.

Early Honours

The first King’s Scout badge in the district was awarded to the late Herbert Dobson in 1911 and the first gold cords (King’s Scout and 18 proficiency badges) to Jack Bishop in 1917. Recently, Raymond Marrison maintained the 4th Groups tradition by becoming the first Senior King’s Scout in this district under the new Senior Scout order. Four medals of merit, one with bar, have been awarded to Scouters of the Group, and a certificate of merit for life-saving

Since the Royal Review at Windsor Great Park in 1911 representatives of the 4th have attended nearly all the big Jamborees and Moots at home and abroad.

Mr. Wright, who is the Association’s Assistant District Scoutmaster has retained his interest with the Group throughout and is now its Rover Scout Leader. He was for many years the chief Scoutmaster of the Group and was succeeded as G.S.M. by Mr. W. Tyson. The latter, who has also had a long and distinguished career with the 4th first joined as a Scout early in 1910. The Group are proud of the fact that our County Commissioner, Mr. T. W. Helme, was invested with them as a Rover.

Local Extensions

In 1929 a Rover Scout Den was opened in Halton Park, and is still in their keeping thanks to the continued kindness of Mrs. Wright. During the last war, the Group were evacuated to Crosslands, whilst Sulyard Street was in use as a Services canteen. The ‘junior’ member is the B.P. Guild of Old Scouts formed last year, which under its energetic secretary Mr. C. Moffatt, has enlisted the support of over 40 former Scouts of the 4th Group. Throughout this long history, the authorities of the Wesley Church have always retained a kindly interest in their Scouts and their welfare. The present officers of the Group other than Messrs Wright and Tyson are: Assistant Rover Leader, W. Newby, Assistant Scoutmaster J. Parker, Hon. Scoutmaster T. Porter. The Assistant Cubmaster is Miss J. Nunney. The Group will shortly be parting company with its Cubmaster Miss A. Ridehalgh on the occasion of her forthcoming marriage as she is leaving the City.


The North-West Lancashire Annual Scouters Conference is to be held at Blackpool on October 1st and 2nd. Further details from Mr. E. W. Bowtell, 75 Mere Road, Blackpool. It is proposed to engage a coach to convey local Scouters to and from the Conference and Miss J. Williams of 32 Whalley Road, Lancaster, would be glad to hear from those wishing to book seats. –AKELA.


Lancaster Guardian and Observer,
Friday, 16 September, 1949

Wesley Group Celebrations

The 4th Lancaster (Wesley) held three important celebrations to mark their forty years continuous existence as a registered Scout Group.

The first was an enjoyable supper which took place on the Wednesday at Sulyard Street headquarters, the “home” of the Group. The birthday cake was cut by Field Commissioner Charles A. Winn, assisted by the youngest Cub.

All sections of the Group attended the function and a lively games session interspersed with entertaining items provided a popular after-supper diversion.

During the interval Group Scoutmaster W. Tyson presented a timepiece to Mr. T. H. Porter* in recognition of the good service rendered to the 4th Lancaster by the recipient from 1921-1949. Mr. Porter, who is now designated Group Secretary, is also an Honorary Scoutmaster of the Group.

The Ladies Committee comprising Mesdames Porter, Tyson, Marrison, Newby, Shenton, Birchall, Gregson and Denwood were responsible for the excellent catering arrangements, and I am asked to thank all those who helped in any way to make the event such a happy one.

* Thomas Higginson Porter born 17 February 1894 in Lancaster son of John & Elizabeth Porter. In 1901 the family is living at 20 Perth Street, Lancaster. In 1911 they have moved to 1 Bath Mill Cottages where Thomas is a Cotton Weaver.

In 1939 Thomas was living at 1 Bath Mill Cottages with his wife Gertrude née Ffrench, born 1896, married 1920 at Sulyard Street Methodist Church.  He is a Cotton Goods – Labourer. Thomas is therefore the brother in law of William Tyson as he married Gertrude’s sister Ethel born 1900.

Thomas died locally in 1964.

Re-Union Dinner

Continuing the celebrations, a representative gathering of past and present members attended a successful re-union dinner promoted by the B.P. Guild of Old Scouts at the Co-operative Cafe on Saturday evening.

Mr. R. E. Wright, who presided, alluded to the spiritual and moral character of Lord Rowallan and of his fine example as exemplified in his Scouting qualities. In extending a welcome to all present, Mr. Wright said he was glad to see so many old Scouts. The Group was recovering very well after the war, the troop was in good hands and the Rover Crew was getting going again. They had been fortunate in having some excellent leaders in their long history, but they must face the fact that new Scouters would be needed to continue the tradition of the. “4th,” and they must look around for suitable successors.

Recounting his early experiences as a Scout, Mr. A. E. Bill had some interesting things to relate when he rose to propose the toast of “The Old Scouts.” “We had only a Scout hat and a stave in those days (1910) and it was risky,” said Mr. Bill “Scouting was something new then. It was an adventure.” He mentioned amusing camping experiences, days in Quernmore Park and at Warton Crag and his first scout concert. They were happy times. Passing to the 1911-14 era, the speaker recalled the Windsor Rally when one member of the troop having won the first King’s Scout badge in North Lancashire, was presented to the King. There was salvage in 1914,”. He went on, “and when the war came we were proud to assemble, with our precious possession, our trek cart, at the old Town Hall in Market Square, to collect waste-paper.” Subsequently, some of them answered the call to join the Territorials and he alluded to the service given in two World Wars by Scouts of the 4th.

Mr. Bill expressed pleasure at being able to meet his old colleagues of the original troop, Messrs. R. E. Wright, G. Lowry, W Butterworth, and W. Tyson. He was glad to make the acquaintance of others who had followed them, and those of the present regime. “There is a fellowship and comradeship about Scouting that endures,” he said. They were proud of the fact that Mr. Wright had been the leader of the Group throughout its long history and he paid tribute to his example. He wished the Group and the Guild members every success in the future and hoped that many might be spared to see the fiftieth anniversary.

The company stood in silence as a mark of respect to Old Scouts who have passed to Higher Service.

Mr. T. C. Moffatt (Guild Secretary) read many apologies for absence from former Scouts unable to be present for various reasons, but all sending best wishes to the Group, among them being one from Hon. County Commissioner T. W. Helme.

A short whist drive followed, the prize-winners being Messrs. J. Newby, J. Compton, J. Woodhouse, J. H. Beck, B McKnight, W. Peel and F. Bartle.

Monologues were contributed by Messrs. J. Naylor and J. Gardner and songs were sung by Mr. J. Woodhouse, accompanied by Mr. F Sugden, who also played for a round of community singing before another happy and successful Guild function closed.

Commemoration Service

Colour parties paraded and Scout and Guide sections from many City groups, and B.P. Guilders joined the evening congregation at a special Commemoration Service of Thanksgiving and Re-dedication, conducted by the Rev. Robertson Ballard (Group Chaplain) at Sulyard Street Wesley Church on Sunday.

The lesson was read by Rover Scout Leader R. E. Wright, and an impressive moment during the service was when the Cubs and Scouts re-affirmed their Promises at the call of County Commissioner J. Dodds Drummond. The C.C. observed, “This afternoon I was about forty miles from here in the company of one of the oldest Scouts in the North-West, who if he lives another ten days will be 81. He is still doing a Scout job. I asked him why Scouting lasts,” continued Mr. Drummond, “and mentioned that I was coming here this evening. He was very interested to hear of your fortieth anniversary. My friend replied, ‘Scouting will last as long as Scouts are faithful to the Promise because the first duty of that Promise is duty to God.’ Scouting will last another forty years here, if you remember that,” concluded the County Commissioner.

In welcoming the Scouts, and Guides, the Rev. Robertson Ballard reminded his congregation that they were really observing a birthday. It is wonderful to think,” he said, “that Scouting first began in Lancaster forty years ago and that this Group of ours has continued without a break since that time.” He thought of the numbers of Scouts who had passed through the Group during those years, probably scattering to all corners of the world, spreading the scout spirit wherever they went. He felt he could do no better than read an account of the Group’s history. It was a proud and distinguished record. (This, incidentally, was the subject of this column last Friday, if any readers wish to refer back to it).

The service ended with the singing of the vesper “Day is done,” the favourite evening farewell song of Scouts and Guides the world over.

Those present included Hon. County Commissioner Mr. T. W. Helme, Dr. J. A. Tomb (Chairman, Lancaster and District Association), Mr. K. R. Stanley (County Secretary), Assistant District Commissioner Mr. J. W. EIlwood, Group Scoutmaster W. Tyson, and Sam Cooke, the Cornwell Scout ” V.C.” -AKELA.