Our History

There is photographic evidence of a scout group in the Wales parish in 1920 but little information can be found. The photo is of the scout group with the scout leader and the vicar. A plaque on the frame says the photo was presented to the scout leader, Mr Snowdon, by the troop on the occasion of his wedding.

From Harold Waites memoirs

                                                                     

1941 – Choir boys ask Harold Waite to form some sort of activity group such as the Boys Brigade.

Harold has a word with the vicar, Mr Selle, who has recently had a letter asking if he could suggest anyone to form a scout troop. The boys were enthusiastic, the collection from the Midnight mass on Christmas eve was given to the boys and with this Harold formed the 54th Rotherham Wales St. Johns scout group, later to become the 11th Rotherham.

Harold Waite and Albert King ran the scout troop and Milly Waite ran the cub pack, the cubs met in St Johns rooms on Tuesdays and the scouts on Fridays when the room was available, otherwise in someone’s home or outdoors when the weather allowed.

The first summer saw the scouts camping on Mr Brabbs` field (where Walesmoor Ave now stands ) and tracking in Norwood and Littlemoors. The first troop leader was Ernest King, patrol leaders were Albert Bradley, Worthy Cope and John Eddershaw. Among the first scouts were Cyril Sissons, Douglas Holland, John Stokes, Jeffery Timberlake, Brian Leary, Harry Headley, Albert Lamb, Roy Godfrey and Alwyn Cartlidge.

1943 – Two volunteers came forward to help Mrs Waite with the cub pack, they were Mrs F Leach and Mrs L Spacey, numbered among the cubs at that time were S Field, K Vickers, J Froggatt, B Grainger, the Cooper Twins,  A Tait, P Walker, K Dennis, R Cartlidge, T Hydes, R Ward, G Holland, P Alldread, B Wigmore, T Newbold, M Cartlidge, R Mozley,  N Edwards and R Coxon.

In November of that year, Mr S Banner, Scoutmaster of the Cudworth troop, brought his scouts along to run a concert in St. Johns rooms in aid of scout funds.

1944 – In March, the scouts held their first pantomime, Cinderella. Mrs King and her mother Mrs Holland made wigs from rope and organized the sewing of the dresses. Cinderella was played by John Mead, Prince Charming, Ron Grace, Buttons, John Eddershaw,  ugly sisters, Harold Waite and Albert King and the boys, a troupe of dancing girls. The audience accused us of cheating and using real girls in the cast. The lads removed their wigs and received a standing ovation.

About this time a large shed was bought for £121 and Mr Brabbs allowed us to erect it on the field near his farm to be used as our scout hut. Douglas Holland built a fireplace and chimney at one end.

Summer camp was a week at Whatstandwell near Matlock. The troop was split into four patrols of nine scouts. One patrol was in charge of camp duties and preparing the evening meal each day, the rest were free to go sightseeing. During the week we had a cricket match with the local girls, the scouts played left-handed , the girls won. We had a campfire to which we invited the farmer and his wife and girls from the St Johns Ambulance Brigade who were camping on the same field

1945 – Summer camp was held at Danes dyke near Bridlington. We had a week of glorious weather. Whilst their V. E. day was declared with great rejoicing. Camp activities and wide games were organized and seaside activities in Bridlington. Several scouts were called up for H. M. services in 1945, they were Ernest King, John Mead, Branson Cartlidge and Derry Baugh.

1946 – summer camp this year was two weeks at Fylingdale near Robin Hood`s  Bay. Along with the scouts, Albert King and Harold Waite took their family’s and so made a family holiday of the event. A lorry and coach transported the equipment and passengers. A severe thunderstorm broke out approaching Scarborough and the field flooded on arrival. The farmer kindly made a barn available and camp was set up the following morning. Robin Hood`s Bay, Whitby and other beauty spots were visited during the camp

1947 –  The summer camp this year was at Auchangillan Scotland. The troop travelled by train to Glasgow on the midnight train from Sheffield, standing in the corridor and arrived at 8 – 45am the following morning. Each boy sent home a postcard to announce their safe arrival. A lorry was our transport from Glasgow to the campsite. During the two weeks, the scouts visited many places of interest including Sterling castle, Wallace`s monument and a day sailing the length of Loch Lomond. A scout troop from Glasgow came on-site during our stay and invited our troop to visit their homes for lunch and tea.

1964 – Harry Hedley is now scoutmaster, Gordon Robinson cub master and Harold Waite group scoutmaster. The camp this year was at Frylands in Surrey. The camp warden asked our scouts to fell some trees while we were there and surprised him by chopping down 37 in one day, A couple, who were millionaires, made friends with the scouts and asked them to look after their two boxer dogs for the weekend while they went to the Isle of Capri. On their return, they invited the boys to their home for a meal.

Recollection’s from Pete Cartlidge

I became a wolf cub in 1946 with the 130th Sheffield and remained an active scout until 1956.

I married in 1960 and moved to Kiveton Park. When my eldest son reached cub scout age we looked for a scout group in the village.

In 1971 my son joined the cubs, and I helped as a parent. Harold was a group scout leader, Gordon cub scout leader and Harry scout leader. Before you could blink, I was assistant cub scout leader along with Roy Shearstone. 

At this point, cubs did not camp overnight so the yearly highlights were day trips out. Jodrill bank and Capesthorn Hall spring to mind. The meeting place for the cubs and scouts at this time was an outbuilding about 15 feet square which belonged to an industrialist called Mr Griffiths. There was also a loft that was used for storage. Opposite the meeting place was a field which belonged to Mr Tom Marsh who had a chain of grocery stores, he was the group chairman and allowed the cubs and scouts to use his field for activities.

During the ’70s the group grew in numbers and another cub pack was formed, Gordon moved to scouts, Roy and I became cub scout leaders and my wife Joyce and Roy’s wife Margaret became assistant cub scout leaders. During this decade it was decided the group would benefit from having its own building. The support from parents and many others was tremendous, Wales Church gave the group a lease on the land behind St Johns rooms and loads of fundraising activities went ahead. The memorable ones were the summer carnivals on Tom Marsh’s field, the dances and social evenings in St. Johns, and newspaper collections.

In 1979, Rotherham Borough Council gave the group three portable buildings which had been used as temporary dwellings whilst council properties were being refurbished. The group had to dismantle and remove them from the site at Dalton Magna then erect them on our present site behind St Johns. We hired a mobile crane on the Dalton site, Gordon’s brother Gerry provided a lorry and Kiveton Colliery a mobile crane on the St Johns site. Prior to the move, the site had to be prepared and the foundations laid. All this is done by a team of willing volunteers. The work of refurbishing the building then had to be done, again by the volunteers. By the end of 1979, the job was done and the Headquarters of our scout group opened in 1980 by Mr Jim Buckland County Commissioner for Scouts.

 As a group we were lucky with regards to the practical skills among our group leaders Roy was a site engineer,  Ron Ward who was then a cub leader, was a joiner, Les Hadfield, Scout leader was an electrician and Gordon and I was a mechanical engineer.

During this busy and exciting time scouting was still the main aim, Camps, outings and progressive training were not neglected. Cubs and Scouts took part in all district events and competitions and were very competitive. First aid, camping, sports day and swimming gala’s, often bringing home the trophy.

The cubs visited various places on weekend pack holidays such as Castleton, Skipton,  Scarborough, Morecombe and others. Scout activities included hiking, canoeing, climbing, weekend camps at sites such as Hesley Wood,  Walesby,  Squirrel Wood  Silver wood and Drum hill. A scout international jamboree takes place every four years and the county have a number of places allocated for scouts to represent the county. Scouts are given the opportunity to apply for a place and are chosen on their scouting skills and their ability to represent scouting, Our group have have always had a scout or venture scout win a place.

The first night of cub camp the cubs rarely sleep and Ron who is a light sleeper is up and down all night trying to keep them quiet. This happened at a district cub camp. After a sleepless night due to one cub in particular Ron is determined to keep the cubs busy to ensure a good nights sleep, a stretcher building competition was part of the cub’s challenges. They had to make a stretcher and carry a cub a distance on the stretcher. The cub in question was the one carried, as soon as he laid on the stretcher the lad fell to sleep. On another occasion on an outing, the cubs were divided into groups and allocated to a leader. This same lad was in Ron`s group, he looked up at Ron with a big smile and said “ey up Ron, thas got me”

Into the ’80s, I became group Scout Leader in 1978 Following Roy Shearstone who became District Commissioner. Harry Hedley and Les Hadfield are  Scout leaders, Gordon Robinson Venture Scout leader Joyce Cartlidge and Maureen Chapman (now Shepherd) cub Scout Leaders. Other Cub Leaders were Ron Ward, David Smith, Terry Driver, Diane Stocks. Cub numbers increased and so a second cub pack was formed. Other Scout leaders were Terry Stocks, Lloyd Markham and John Simpson.

Scout camps I remember in this decade, an international camp at Stroud which was organised by an order of monks. On this camp, we met the Chief Scout who at the time was Sir William Gladstone.

Another memory of this camp was a scout dropping his torch in the latrine trench, he came to report his loss, my comment was, bad luck, Gordon came to the rescue with a lasso on a pole with which he rescued the torch.

Kingsdowne in Kent was also visited in the ’80s. The site is on a clifftop overlooking the English Channel. When we arrived the weather was wet and very windy not ideal for setting up camp. On the edge of the cliff was a clump of trees and the site slopped up steeply to a toilet block, the wind was blowing off the sea. We decided to set up camp in the shelter of the trees and put up with the inconvenience of being away from toilet and water facilities. This proved to be a wise move, a troop from Ireland camped on top of the hill and every tent was blown away. The site had canoes with instructors available but the weather was too bad, the scouts were really keen to have a go and on the last day, although still windy, the instructor’s decided to give it a go. The scouts did really well then at the last minute, one scout got caught across the waves and was tipped out of his canoe. He did as instructed and hung on to the canoe and in next to no time one of the instructor`s had him safely on the beach  

Another camp I remember was Chalfont St Peters. Among other campers on the site was a troop from  London. Early in the week, their scout leader, who our scouts had christened “ big Bessie” came to complain that our scouts had stolen their flag. I called the scouts over and they protested their innocence. As soon as the lady had gone my words to the scouts was “get that flag returned and don’t get caught”. By the end of the week, they all made pals.

The tastiest chicken I have ever had was on a camp at Walesby. This was cooked by Harry Hedley, a real Baden – Powell backwoods scout leader. He cooked it on a hunters fire. The fire is lit in a pit and built up slowly to produce a lot of hot ash. The chicken was gutted and packed in clay then covered with wet newspaper. It was then buried in the hot ash and the turf laid on top. Six or seven hours later it was ready to eat, the feathers coming off with the clay.

Beaver Scouts started in 1986 and the 11th was the first group in Rotherham to have a Beaver Colony. The Beaver Leaders were Janet Kirkland and Barbara Kay. When Beavers first started, they were no training badges they did not parade or have a flag and did not have a group neckerchief.

In the late ’80s, Roy Staniforth, who was a youth club leader at Wales Methodist  Chapel, organised a Gang Show along with the Guides to help with fundraising. The first half of the show was a variety type performance and the 2nd half a pantomime. The show was staged in the Grand Hall at Wales High School to a full house at each performance. This event leads to three more productions in successive years.

Leadership roles changed in the ’80s with Joyce, Maureen and Gordon moving to district appointments and Irene Wood, who had been a cub leader in Sheffield, joined the group. John Vernon (cubs) and Mike and Julie Haydon (Ventures) also joined around this time. Girls were first admitted into scouting in venture scout units in 1976 but it was around this time that the first girls joined our group.

The cubs had a varied programme and among many other activities visited Walesby Forest camp in 84, a trip to York in 87, Beverley Military museum in 88 and took part in a fun run at Rother Valley Country Park.

The scout band was active, taking part in leading the parades. Mothering  Sunday was the first parade, then the District St. Georges Day Parade, the Wales Church Summer Fayre, the Scout Group Carnival Parade and the Remembrance Day parade being the main one’s. The monthly Family Service at Wales Church during the summer months usually began with the band leading a parade through the village.

Now the ’90s. Beaver numbers increased so it was decided to form another beaver colony. This was run by Marcia Hayward and her husband Keith. Marcia and Keith lived in Harthill so it was convenient for them for the new colony to meet there, both colonies had a joint programme and had regular joint meetings. Jayne Downs became beaver leader of the Wales colony around this time. Beaver activities that I remember are, a visit to Sheffield Airport and watching the Amsterdam flight land, meeting the Mayor and Mayoress  of Rotherham and visiting H M S Beaver at Liverpool

 The beavers met the captain and were made honorary crew members.

It was during the ’90s the beavers had a harvest festival of toy’s and donated them to the Rotherham Hospital children’s ward.

Nicola Webster (Cub leader), Nadine Taylor (Beaver leader), Paul Rigg and Paul Cartlidge (Scout leaders) and Allen Downs (Venture scout leader) became leaders in the ‘90s.

Cub outings I remember well is Scarborough a couple of times and Skipton. On one of the Scarborough weekend adventures I remember it was decided that the male leaders would take the cubs down to the beach on Saturday morning whilst the lady leaders prepared breakfast. The ladies were still in their dorm when we departed. They were still there when we all returned 1- ½ hours later. The door handle of their dormitory had fallen off and they were “trapped” in. What an excuse. On the Skipton trip, we had a great time, we visited the castle and the canal and also explored the town. On a Sunday afternoon we packed our equipment on board the coach, took our seats and off we set. 15 minutes down the road, Jean, Ron’s wife, said “where’s Ron”. We had left Ron to lock up on our departure. He had to lock the front from the inside and then lock up the back and deposit the keys. When we arrived back, he was sat on the front step waiting for us coming to collect him. He calmly said, “I knew you’d be back when you missed me”, but not quite so politely.

                                         

In the ’90s one of our Venture Scouts (Chris Vernon whose dad is a cub leader) sadly died suddenly from meningitis. One of Chris’s hobbies was shooting so his dad John, as a memorial to Chris, presented a shooting trophy which the cubs and scouts compete for each year.

Among many other camps and activities, a week camp on Guernsey, one of the channel islands, is one I remember. We travelled by rail from Sheffield to Weymouth and then by ferry to Guernsey. We stayed on the site of a scout headquarters. It was spring bank holiday when we went and, going to the channel isles, we expected glorious weather. What a shock, it was like November. The first night there the host scout leader invited us to sleep in the scout hall which we did, and set up our camp the following day. We had taken with us our own personal equipment and used the host group camping equipment. The first few days we explored the local beach and surrounding area and then hired a minibus to explore the island more fully. The ferry back to Weymouth was a night ferry that picked us up from Guernsey, sailed on to Jersey and then back to Weymouth. The scouts got out their sleeping bags and slept on the deck until we docked. It was a long journey.

Of the scout weekend camps, Crewboree at Hesley Wood is always a popular one. It is an activity camp organised by the Hesley Wood crew for scouts and guides. On a few occasions, the local guide company joined us as their leaders hadn`t got a camping licence. The camp was always the first weekend in June and, hopefully, the weather would be good. Unfortunately, this was not always the case, I remember one weekend we had to put wooden pallets on the ground in the dining shelter so that we were not paddling in mud. It didn`t dampen our spirits

Now into the millennium.

We entered 2000 with me thinking my scout leader days were nearly over as I would be 65 in 2003, in the true be prepared scouting spirit, I asked Sue Bass if she would take the group scout leader position when I retired. It was agreed that Sue would be assistant group scout leader for eighteen months and then group scout leader with me as assistant for eighteen months

My wife Joyce had retired in 2001 and Sue organised a thank-you party weekend for us both in June 2003 and opened the weekend to everyone with whom we had known in scouting. The event was held at my favourite campsite, Walesby Forest, WHAT A WEEKEND THAT WAS!!!  Loads of activities were organised, mainly on a scouting theme. A memorable one for me was raft building. Off we all went down to the lake to build rafts. All went well and the rafts were launched. Things got a bit giddy with the big boys, namely my two sons and the scouts of their era, I was unceremoniously thrown in.   From that weekend, it was decided to hold a parish family camp for friends of scouting, guiding and the church in June and this event still takes place.

After my retirement, scouting decided to move the goal post with regards to retirement and removed the 65 age limit. I am now an assistant scout leader and training adviser.

2007 was scouting’s centenary year and the world jamboree was held at Hylands Park in Essex. There was also an international camp held at Walesby Forest scout camp. Our group attended this event with cubs, scouts and explorers attending. There was a memorable opening ceremony, a promise renewal ceremony followed by a parachute display team and a fantastic closing ceremony at which everyone was invited to collect as many signatures on their tee shirt as possible. During the week many events took place on-site with loads of opportunities to mix with scouts from across the world. Each day a visit from Walesby to the world jamboree at Hylands Park was organised and also daily trips to Alton Towers. Everyone on camp visited these venues with coaches leaving in the early hours. It really was a great experience.

The highlight of 2008 was the group camp at Cherry Garth Scout campsite at Waltham near Cleethorpes. We were made very welcome by a lady called Sally who ran the site. She had been a scouting member for many years and was part of the scout group to whom the site belonged. During our stay there we had a trip to Cleethorpes and had a fun time on the beach and in the sea. We went on the bus with the intention of travelling back on the bus. This was not to be. As we stood patiently waiting at the bus, the bus arrived and left without us, we were waiting on the wrong side of the road. It was a long wait for the next bus so it was decided we would walk back to camp. We had one car with us plus another back at camp. Paddy took a driver and the cooks back to camp so dinner could be prepared and then the two cars ferried back and forth until everyone was back. The last back walked all the way.

Recent events that stand out for me are a canal canoeing cruise on the River Wye and two pedal kart marathons at Shedington near Banbury.

 

The canoe cruise took place in May 2010 and 14 scouts and 3 leaders took part in a 30-mile river trip to Monmouth over a 3 day period the highlight was shooting the rapids at Simmonds Yat. I was part of a 3 man support team. The scouts had several training sessions prior to the trip and all did very well and enjoyed the event. They achieved the adventure and fitness award for their Chief Scouts Challenge. 

For the pedal kart marathon, we had to build a pedal-powered kart and a team of six had to pedal around a karting circuit for 18 hours. The kart had to be built to official specifications and pass scrutiny before the race. On our first attempt, we only had a team of 5 and finished the paintwork the day before the event with only one practises run. We passed scrutiny but the scrutiniser asked if our drivers were orangutans because of the reach needed to steer. Off we went to the track to have some practise laps. The driveshaft broke about 20 minutes before the start and we franticly searched to borrow a welder. All went well and the race began. The team completed the marathon and came 5th in their class.

For our second attempt we could only manage a team of 4 and they had to pedal for 24 hours this time as they were in a higher class. Modifications were made to the kart and off we went. Scrutiny went well and off we went for the practice laps, still no problems so off to the start line. The signal to start was given and down went one of our front tyres. 20 minutes later we were back in the race. All went well but we had a young team and only 4 members. The nighttime laps we found difficult and our lap time fell by 50%. About 7 am the steering linkage broke so a weld repair had to be made, this cost us about 40 minutes but we completed the 24 hours at an average speed of 7mph. We are hoping to have 2 teams next year.