Scouts and Guides from across the Romsey area gathered on Sunday for their annual St George’s Day celebration. In one of the largest turnouts of recent years, over 500 young people processed through the town centre to attend the service in Romsey Abbey.
St George is the patron of both the Scout and Guiding Movements and the two organisations locally have marked the occasion together for many years. Fortunately, in Romsey Abbey, there is a building large enough to hold them all. During the service, members renew their Promise and reflect on what it means to be a member. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of both Movements, chose St George as their patron for his example of selflessness and overcoming great adversity.
For the first time this year, Scouting’s newest section took part in the event. Squirrel Scouts, aged from 4 to 6 years, are now meeting at three locations in the area, with more Squirrel groups expected to open this year.
Scout District Commissioner, David Shill, said “I have been taking part in St George’s Day since I was a Cub myself but the sight of all our assembled young people still impresses me. Our annual census this year shows that Scouting across our area is as popular as ever; we have over 1,000 members and more young people than we’ve had for 20 years. However, we have seen our adult membership drop by 50, which is clearly unsustainable. Without leaders, without committee members, without occasional volunteers, we just can’t offer the adventure of Scouting to as many young people as want to take part. We don’t only need adults prepared to make the weekly commitment to help run our youth sections, we need people with admin, or bookkeeping, or building maintenance skills to help behind the scenes too. Scouting is a team effort and has lots to offer its adults, not only its younger members.”
Guide Division Commissioner, Elaine Urban…
On Sunday, the long procession filed past the saluting base in the Market Place. The Civic Party taking the salute included The Countess Mountbatten, Caroline Nokes MP, Mayor of Test Valley Cllr Alan Dowden, Mayor of Romsey Cllr Neil Gwynne, and Deputy Mayor of Romsey Cllr John Ray. The service in the Abbey was led by Rev Thomas Wharton and concluded with ‘God Save The King’. The collection from the service will go to local charity Alfie’s Wish, who support families of children with cancer. Alfie’s Wish was chosen by this year’s lead Scout and Guide groups.
After the service, the Civic Party and the other invited guests watched the young people assemble on Abbey Green to be dismissed, before being hosted to tea and homemade cakes in the Abbey Rooms.
A special thank you to Romsey’s Men In Sheds for assisting the construction and painting of our new parade signage!
We are hoping to use them at our other events, So keep your eyes peeled!
If you are ‘handy and want to join their team, or have a project you need help with their website is; https://www.romseymensshed.org.uk/
Alternatively you are more than welcome to join us!