1st Ottershaw Scout Group history
There are 2 different versions of when the Group was formed, however, for commemorative dates, we have to use the official date supplied to us by The Scout Association.
Officially – According to Scout Headquarters Records Department, 1st Ottershaw Scout Group was first registered on the 3rd March 1939. It consisted then of 2 Leaders, 8 Wolf Cubs, 6 Scouts and 3 Rover Scouts.
Unofficially – According to a brief record, the Group was started by the Earl of Meath and a Cub pack was running at Meath School by Mrs Thomas until 1970. Between 1916 and 1918 Miss Monica Phillips, the Vicar’s daughter, was in charge. After the First World War the Troop lapsed, but it was revived in 1926 by Mr Brighty who became Scout Master at the age of 19. The Troop met and flourished first in a room at the old vicarage and then at Brook Hall. Meetings were also held in a barn belonging to W S Hunt of Ottershaw and then at the delightful District Camp Site situated at Anningsley Park. The Scouts were given the Freedom of the Site for training purposes by the late Sir Wilfred D Vernon, JP, Chertsey District President.
In the late 1930’s Mr W Atkin was Scout Master for a short period followed by Mr R Lowe who also became Rover Scout Master and later Assistant District Commissioner for Leader Training. Mr L T (Gig) Williams became Scout Master and Group Scout Master after 1942, with R Ottaway and M J Kingston assisting. M J Kingston became the first King’s Scout in the Chertsey District. Mr Williams went on to become District Commissioner.
At one time the Scout Troop was running Lyne which had strong connections with 1st Ottershaw. Another Ottershaw Cub Pack was in Lyne by Mr Storr and Mr Boon until 1971. A long tradition was carried out in Lyne every year, first organised by Mr Williams, whereby the Ottershaw Scouts would collect donations of food by the Lyne Young Wives and Villagers and provide for the handicapped Scouts and boys at “Woodlarks” Camp in Farnham.
The little wooden hut in Ottershaw Recreation ground was replaced in the early Seventies by a more substantial Scout Hut. This also became home to 1st and 2nd Ottershaw Brownies and 1st Ottershaw Guides until their association decided that the hut was becoming unsafe. They moved out and met temporarily at Christc hurch School in Fletcher Road.
The Scout Group began to try to raise funds to build a new headquarters but this proved quite difficult as the Guiding sections were also trying to do the same. It was felt that if the Scouting and Guiding sections could combine, then all the fund raising could be consolidated and a new meeting place for all the sections could be built.
In order for this to happen, it was decided to form a joint ‘Scout and Guide Group’ – the first (and to date, only) one in Runnymede District and one of only a few in Surrey. Hence, in 1992, the Ottershaw Scout and Guide Group became reality.
The Group had, by this time, taken over the organisation of the annual village Mayfair, which provided them with funds towards the new HQ. These, together with a substantial grant received from Chertsey Charities and a donation from a Sheik living in Longcross, enabled us in 1995 to go ahead with the building of the new headquarters. The council wanted to reclaim the piece of land where we were sited, but gave us permission to build on the site of the old youth club, about 25 yards away, nearer to the car park.
The group AGM on 19th May 1995 was the first group event to take place there and was followed by an ‘official opening’ in March 1996 by the Chief Scout, Sir Garth Morrison.