Southampton City Scouts News

James Ketchell’s World Cycle: Part III

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014



In June 2013 Hampshire Scouts Ambassador and adventurer James Ketchell embarked on a huge challenge: an epic 18,000 mile-long cycle ride through 20 countries, including India and Australia, to raise awareness of Scouting and funds for charity ELIFAR.

Seven months later, his amazing journey is almost over and on Saturday 1 February James will arrive back in London’s Greenwich Park. As the ultimate triathlete, he’ll be the first man to have rowed the Atlantic, climbed Everest and cycled around the world.

Read about James’s latest adventures below and check out part I and part II of his blog posts.

November 2013

The weather in California was perfect. I cycled around the San Francisco Bay area and the sheer size of the Golden Gate Bridge was spectacular. From San Francisco I headed across the southern states to Arizona.

In Arizona I stayed with people I met through a website for touring cyclists and It works a bit like couch surfing. As well as saving you the cost of motels, you get to meet some fantastic people. And for me that’s what adventure is all about.

It was through warmshowers that I met a couple called Bob and Jessy who live in downtown Phoenix. I spent Thanksgiving with them and they kindly treated me to a delicious meal. On the morning of Thanksgiving, I was invited to take part in a group ride, which has been a Thanksgiving tradition in the city for over thirty years. There were about two hundred cyclists flying around the streets of Phoenix and the atmosphere was great.

I want to say ‘well done’ to all the Scouts in Australia who recently earned their Captain Ketch ambassador badge. It’s great to see the badge is going global!

December 2013

I sometimes feel a bit bored when cycling, believe it or not! I’ve made up this game where I count train carriages. A lot of the roads I cycle on are parallel to railway tracks, and the Union Pacific trains which run across the whole of the United States can be enormous. The biggest one I have counted yet has been 112 carriages long!

When I was cycling in a remote part of Texas, I met a homeless guy who was essentially ‘living’ on his bike. He had a few belongings and spare tyres but he basically had very little. When I asked him if he knew where I could get some food in the area, he said he didn’t, but he offered me his bread and water. It was very humbling to realise that there are people willing to sacrifice what little they have for others.

On Christmas Day, I was in Pensacola, Florida. I’d recorded an interview for BBC World and BBC News channel and it was broadcast around the world – what a great Christmas present! I managed to cycle 70 miles that day. When I arrived at my hotel for the night, the chef cooked me a steak dinner on the house. All in all, it was a great Christmas.

January 2014

After cycling about 7,000 miles across the United States, I flew to Lisbon to meet my family for my birthday. I celebrated with them on Saturday, then on Sunday got straight back on the bike for the last 2,000 miles. It’s hard to believe that the end is in sight. I’ll arrive back in Greenwich, London on Saturday 1 February, exactly seven months after I set off on 30 June.  

It’s been such a mental and physical challenge, cycling 100 miles every day for nearly 200 days. In a lot of ways, it’s been harder mentally than physically. I’m pretty excited and not really sure how I’ll feel when it’s all over.

Find out more
Support James Ketchell at
For more details and photos, read his full blog at:
Cycle with James from Brighton to London on Saturday 1 February, or join his welcome party in Greenwich


Daily Echo Reports: Help Hampshire Scouts trace First World War history

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014

THEY laid down their lives fighting for king and country.ww1_201311061040_1.JPG

Now the major contribution that Baden Powell’s young troopers made to the war effort is being highlighted as Hampshire Scouts mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The project will also focus on how Scouts kept the home fires burning while many of their comrades were sacrificing their lives in the bloody battlefields.

But it could have been a very different story. In the build up to the First World War, the Government’s call to arms was not wholeheartedly welcomed by Scouting’s founder Baden Powell.

There had been a Whitehall plan to militarise all youth organisations. Baden refused to sign up to this plan, but on August 4, 1914 he offered the services of the movement to the Government.

The Scouts’ duties were to be non-military and carried out through Scout Commissioners under the general guidance of the local chief constable. (Image:First World War Scout Lennie Tully)

Home Front tasks were varied and included handing out information to local people, organising relief measures within their community and acting as messengers, guides and orderlies.

Scouts were also involved in establishing first aid stations, refuges and soup kitchens.

They also assisted the coastguard in coast watching duties and there were inspections by Baden Powell.

This vital work continued through the war and eventually involved some 23,000 Scouts, including many from Hampshire.

But many Scout leaders and Scouts, as they became of age, were also drawn into fighting for their country.

Fifteen members of the movement were awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding acts of courage and bravery, including Jack Cornwell, after whom the Cornwell Scout Badge is named.

Hampshire Scout Heritage which is unique in its archiving of Scouting history, has uncovered some fascinating facts about the role that Scouts played in the war.

Six Southampton Scouts – four from the Second Freemantle Troop, one from the 11th St Mary’s and the other from the 20th St Laurence Troop – were on the hospital ship Britannic which was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat off the coast of Greece.

They were among 16 Scouts, who were acting as orderlies and messengers, who were all saved.

The Southampton Scouts were later each presented with an engraved pocket compass from the White Star Line.

Records also reveal how the county camp at Beaulieu had to be cancelled because of the war.

Hampshire Scouts’ First World War project for 2014 will culminate in a service at Winchester Cathedral on Friday, May 9 with the theme of “reconciliation and duty”.

This will focus on those who did their duty abroad and those who remained behind and carried out sterling service in supporting their local communities.

Scout groups across Hampshire are being asked to dig deep in their archives and come up with the answers to various questions which include specific contributions made by Hampshire Scouts through examples of what they did in towns and villages across the county.

Bosses also want to know how the war impacted upon the groups and districts. With leaders going away to war Scouting was often continued at the local level through the efforts of patrol leaders.

Information about what Scouts did to support the local community and any local heroes who were Scouts is also sought.

The findings will be unveiled at the Winchester Cathedral Service to salute the Scouts’ war efforts.

Scouting chiefs are also asking younger members to design a county badge which can be worn by those completing a series of tasks linked to the theme of reconciliation and duty during the First World War.

For more general information on the role of Scouts during the First World War, log on to the Scout Association archive site at


Founder’s Day

Posted on Sunday, January 26th, 2014


On 22 February every year, millions of Scouts around the world gather at local, national and international levels to celebrate Founder’s Day. It is the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell (1857-1941), the pioneer of Scouting. Coincidentally, his wife Olave Baden-Powell (born in 1889), shared the same birthday.

Founder’s Day is a crucial event in the Scouting calendar when members renew their Scout Promise reaffirming their commitment to the core values of the Movement. It is considered a special day, as well as an opportunity to learn more about BP’s life and his work. His Writings remain inspiring to many and incredibly on phase with our times.


Reminder: Southampton City District Founders Day Celebration

We are celebrating the birthday of our Founder Lord Baden Powell. Please come and join us and celebrate. Please make sure that you are very smart and in full uniform.
St Andrew’s URC Church
The Avenue Southampton SO17 1XQ
Friday 21st February 2014
Assembly: Meet at 6.15 pm 
All parents, friends and families are invited to attend.


Why did Baden Powell choose Nyeri, Kenya as his last home?

Posted on Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Nyeri_BP-1.jpgAt about 100 kilometres away from the Africa Regional office of World Scouting, in Nairobi, stands PAXTU, the last residence of the Founder of Scouting, Lord Baden Powell. Towards the sunset of his fulfilled life, the Chief Scout of the World had chosen to retire at the foot Mount Kenya, in the area of the Central Highlands Region, in Nyeri.

His former private secretary during the Great War, Eric Walker, had built there the Outspan Hotel, which still exists todate and accommodates rather fortunate customers since the beginning of the 1920s. Lord Baden-Powell had made a first visit there in 1927, during a trip which was to make him re-examine Southern Rhodesia (ex-Matabeleland and current Zimbabwe), and was allured by the gentle climate of the High Plateaus, in the east of the Mounts Aberdare, and the splendid scenery of the slopes of Kenya’s highest summits, which up until now is still an attraction for trekkers.

At the time of this first stay, thanks to his host BP spent one night at Tree Tops, a house built with trees that formed a canopy near a waterhole where all


 the animals from the area assembled at nightfall, a spectacle which enchanted BP. History holds that, it is “while in this tree that Elisabeth became Elisabeth II, 

Queen of England”, when she learned there, during a visit to Kenya, the death of her father Georges VI in 1952.

Upon return to England, in his property ‘Pax Hill’, Baden-Powell

, concerned about the evolution of the political situation in Europe, and heeding the initiative of his wife Lady Olave, started to prepare his trip to what was to become his last country – Kenya- with declared intentions to spend his last days there.

His friend Eric Walker made him build a special bungalow on the site of his hotel. This cottage (PAXTU) still exists todate and is visited by tourists and Scouts from all over the world. It is a modest residence
(a living room with la

rge windows, two bedrooms and two small bathrooms, the garden which surrounds it has jacarandas (African trees with blue flowers ), the terrace offers a splendid sight of the mountains and the whole set up confirms Lord Baden-Powell’s preference for life in outdoors.

It is in his ‘African’ house that he passed on peacefully in the morning of July 8, 1941. In accordance with the wish of Lady Olave, and his own predilection, he was buried at the Nyeri cemetery, where his remains rest hitherto, and not at the Abbey of Westminster, the British Pantheon where the dean had reserved a site for him.


Today, PAXTU has been transformed into a museum and shelters various objects that are of interest to the Scout Movement, especially countless written messages of the Scouts who visited the place. The Golden Book bears a message of an American Scout who visited PAXTU some days after the tragic bomb attack of Nairobi in August 1998, during which the first voluntary first-aider to arrive on the scene was a young Kenyan Scout.


Daily Echo Reports: Scout group celebrates 60 years

Posted on Saturday, January 25th, 2014

mcscoutsbirthday03.JPGScouts of all ages celebrate the anniversary.


FOR six decades they have been teaching children to be prepared.

Now, the 9th Southampton City Scout Group has celebrated its 60-year anniversary in style at their headquarters in Shirley Warren.

More than 60 people, including both past members and the current generation, enjoyed the anniversary held at the Scout hut in Bindon Road.

It was in 1953, that Reverend Milne of St Jude’s church in Shirley Warren recognised the need for a Cub pack in the area.

They were officially recognised by the Scout Association a year later and moved to its current base in Bindon Road in 1967.

Since then hundreds of children have been taught the Scout values, learnt survival skills away on camping trips and earned various badges.

Group Leader Neil Webb, said: “There has been huge amount of hard work from the leaders.

“It is fantastic to have people that have come through the Scouts here today. We would not be here now if they had not done their bit.”

He added: “A lot of the young people have games and things that keep them inside, but our group gives them the chance to do more adventures and take part in activities like camping.”

Among those celebrating was Myrna Russell, 71, retired from Merryoak, a leader of the 60’s. She said: “I like the friendly co-operation and how well structured it is and how we learn useful things.”

Also there was Gordon Bailey, 70, from Dibden Purlieu who was leader from 1961 to 1965. He said: “I think the best thing about the Scouts is the character building.

“There’s a saying, once a Scout always a Scout.”

Grey Owl’s Goodbye

Posted on Saturday, January 25th, 2014


Well of course I don’t mean, I won’t be happy to see you all again, I just got to a point when I didn’t want the onerous task of ADC Beavers. I am very pleased that the reins have been taken over by Thelma as I know she will do a good job. I had a great time in the 7 years I was ADC. The Beavers were my Beavers and the Leaders were my Leaders. I am glad now to have retired with so many happy memories.

The Beaver Section is vital to Scouting and the children learn to accept the values and to be together happily. In my time (26 years in Beaver scouting) I have seen beavers become Queen Scouts and even become leaders in the District. Of course not all the beavers did this but I know in Beaver Scouting they have made good friends and have many happy memories to take into their adult lives.


A few words about my parting gift, I wanted to give the Section something they would all see and be proud of.



Ahmeek the bronze Beaver sits on top of the District Beaver Colours and will be carried proudly at the head of your own Beaver flags. Beaver scouting started in Canada and “Ahmeek” is the Native American name for the beaver. Our Beaver was made by an ex venture scout from the District. Paul Joyce has become an expert sculptor in bronze and runs his own foundry in Essex. While making our beaver he had a visit from an internationally renowned sculptor who finished off the modelling for him giving it a touch of the master. I know Paul was very happy to make something for his old district.

Why did I call myself Grey Owl? Well, early in the last century a young English man went to Canada to live a life in the wild. He made a living trapping for furs which were widely used in the fashions of the time. He learnt a great deal and made friends with the Indians who gave him the Indian name of Grey Owl. Trappers had started using explosives to blow up the Beaver dams because they could make a lot of money from their skins. Grey Owl could see that they were wiping out the animal and conducted a campaign to stop this malpractice, he became known as friend of the beavers.

Enough about me – I want to thank you all for making the Christingle such a happy occasion for me. A Christingle service started my involvement in the Section and it was so appropriate to finish in this way. I was overwhelmed by the gifts, brought to tears by the poem and the song, and totally embarrassed by being dressed up and made to sit in front of the Church. Yes you got me, all of you but what  a send off. I loved the book you had made with all the beavers writing or drawing something for me. The vase is beautiful and the flowers you gave with it. There were other gifts as well and oh you had all made such an effort to make it an occasion, finishing the following week, after the Pantomime, with a meal at the Malvern.

Thank you for 26 years of “Fun and Friends”, Grey Owl.

Hampshire Scouts’ Mountaineering Team Spring Experience Weekends

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014


Please find attached a flyer which advertises the Spring walking and climbing experience weekends we have planned for this year. 
The weekend costs £60 which includes accommodation, food, use of group equipment and instruction.
In our bid to encourage Hampshire out into the hills and mountains we have a dedicated team of enthusiastic, qualified and experienced climbers/mountain leaders who have a wealth of skills waiting to be passed on.
We also provide for Scouting; outdoor rock climbing training and assessment courses, Summer terrain 1 & 2 training and assessment courses, Winter terrain 1 & 2 training and assessment courses. 
National Governing Body Awards (NGB) such as Summer Mountain Leader Awards (MLS), Walking Group Leader Award (WGL) and Single Pitch Climbing Awards (SPA) are also run by HSMT.
Please see our website for further details –


District Campsite Visit

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014

All leaders in Southampton City District are invited to join us for the official Site Visit relating to our 2014 District Camp. The Site Visit will take place at Lyons Copse Campsite on Sunday 26th Jan 2014 at 10.00am. Look for Ian Budd when you arrive.

Address: Solent Scout Training Centre, Lyons Copse, Sandy Lane, Shedfield, Hampshire, SO32 2HQ.

Map reference: Lyons Copse and surrounding area can be found on O.S Landranger sheet 196. Reference SU 551 142.

Directions: From the M27 junction 7 take the A334 signposted to Botley. Continue through Botley following signs for Wickham. Sandy Lane is to be found two miles after Botley on your left after Wickham Vineyard. (Note: also in Sandy Lane is the Marriott Meon Valley Hotel and Country Club.) Lyons Copse is half a mile down Sandy Lane (past the golf course and country club) and is on the left by a sharp right hand bend.

Getting a Nights Away permit

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014

Talk to our Nights Away Adviser, Graham Meering, if you want to get a Nights Away permit. Also, this note from Mark Dolton is about a chance to be assessed for Nights Away by County, coming up in April:

Nights Away Permit Assessment Opportunity – 19-21 April 2014

Indoor Category Assessment

If you wish to be assessed for the indoor NA permit then please contact Mark Dolton, County Nights Away Adviser on 07725 723896 or email (For indoor NA permit, please do not contact Ferny Crofts directly.) Payment for the accommodation will need to be made to Mark Dolton prior to the event.

Campsite/Greenfield/Lightweight Expedition Assessment

If you wish to be assessed for either campsite, greenfield or lightweight expedition then please make a campsite booking directly with Ferny Crofts (023 8084 5092), advise them that you are participating in the NA assessment weekend. Then advise Mark Dolton, County Nights Away Adviser on 07725 723896 or email Payment will need to be made directly with Ferny Crofts. 

Bookings to be made by 1 February 2014.

Many thanks,

From Colin

Posted on Sunday, January 12th, 2014

A very big thank you and well done goes to Lyn Johnson who has retired from her role as ADC Beavers after many years of service. I am sure you will join me in saying thank you to Lyn. She is joining our active support unit so she will continue to support us with our scouting.

The Beaver section is now being overseen by a task force of Leaders; Thelma Young will be heading that section up with the help and support of Gail Langton, Elaine Buckland and Eve Willett. They I am sure will take the section forward with great enthusiasm.

Congratulations to George Longhurst, who has received a service award for 50 years. A very big well done and congratulations from us all.

Thank you to all of those that went to the Remembrance Service at Southampton Cenotaph. And well done to all those groups that attended local parades. It was a great way for us to remember those that gave their lives for us. We gave just two hours of our time to remember them.

Our aim was for you to send a beaver and a cub and a scout to join us at Southampton Cenotaph with a representative from the Explorers and the active support unit. That would have given us a much larger contingent with representation from all of our groups rather than just some. A big thank you to George and Harry Price from the 2nd Cubs who laid the wreath on our behalf

Thank you to you all for joining us for our annual swimming gala a big thank you to Graham Meering who organised the event and to all of those that helped out on the day with marshalling and scoring the competition. I hope you and the young people enjoyed yourself.

Wilverley District Camp Site New Generator

A very big thank you to Tony Bradley who project managed the work of providing the new LPG generator at Wilverley and to the service team and the contractors involved for their help during the project.  It is just so easy to use and clean and safe. Just flick the switch to turn it on.

Compass and this year’s Annual Census

The Scout Association will be introducing this year a new date base for recording the membership details of all adults and more importantly all young people.  You can find information about Compass here.

Richard has sent out requests for the Census information; as part of this process, and to “clean-up” data for the move to the new Compass system, If anyone needs a reminder, it is a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act to keep personal data up to date!  This includes keeping contact details, including email addresses, up to date. As part of this check, please ensure that all Executive Members, including any leaders who are voting members, have that Executive role included on their membership record.  Similarly Districts should ensure that membership of Appointments Advisory Committees is included in members records. To help us it is best that we start to prepare for the big switch over now. We are asking you to forward to Richard an up to date list of all your young people giving the main details of name, address postal code and date of births and contact details of the Parents and Guardians. We will then enter that information for you into the present scout data base so it is transferred to the Compass system later on in the year. This will of course need to be updated just prior to the switch over but will get most of our information in a good place and recorded well in advance. For those groups and sections that use OSM please check your details are up to date and notify me please that you have completed that task.  Please remember that OSM has lots of ways that it can help you manage your sections information and is free to Southampton Groups.

District Web Site

Please rember to tell everyone about your good news, if you have been to camp recently or are planning a event SHOUT LOUD about it. The web site is a great way to promote our district and tell everyone how good we are. Everyone loves a good news story. Please send all your articles to Tony and Val Kench by the 25th of every month.


The district now has two district permits these are held by me. Every group that uses a minibus from time to time must get the “section 19” permit from HQ. One certificate for each minibus being used. Information here.

I Challenge you all

All of us in Southampton Scouting are working far too hard and we need to share the load much more. Notionally 47% of adult members are Parents. Please ask your self what is your group’s average is it at that level? In Winchester District they have just recruited 60 new parents to help them expand the beaver scout sections in all of their groups. If they can do that so can we.

I would like many more Parents to be asked to get involved the more we have the more fun it would be for us. I challenge all of you to ask one person to get involved. I often get told that Parents would help if they were asked. So lets make this our new Years pledge to ask more Parents to join our leadership teams and just as important to join the groups executive supporting committee. Far too many groups are light on the supporting side of the group and we still have a number of key uniformed vacancies in all our groups. I suggest you all agree between yourselves who you would like to invite to get more involved. Scouting has a job for everyone and it can easily fit around all of the other commitments that Parents have, and as we have ourselves.

District Diary and Directory 2014

Graham has completed the task of producing this year’s diary which is now available in hard copy and also on the district web site. The district directory is also on the district website in the member’s area. Please make sure you notify Graham of any changes to your details such as a move of house and changes to your contact numbers and email addresses.

District Camp 2014

The plans for District camp are ongoing and we hope to set up a camp which will be the best one yet. A big ask but we can do it. Ian Budd is the main contact for the camp so if you have a queries please contact him.  We will be holding a Site Visit to Lyons Copse on Sunday 26th January 2014 at 10am to look at the site and what it offers and allocating camp sites to groups. Please tell Ian if you have any special requests with the site allocations. Don’t forget the theme is “space” Please get this message out to the groups Leaders and encourage them to think about how to they might exploit this theme. All sections are asked if they can come up with some cool and exciting ideas for activities that we might buy in for the camp. And of course ideas for activities for the groups to run themselves. There will be a camp badge competition. Ian will provide info. We are organising just one blue-card swimming sessions in advance of camp, to give cubs and scouts the chance to participate in water activities further details to follow.

Adult Training

This District has a great record of improving its training management and support to its leaders. A special mention is due to Nico for taking this work forward and greatly improving the training scheme with some wonderful work by the training advisers. And some great commitment from our leaders.  If you have now completed your Wood Badge well done but how about this year looking for opportunities to strengthen your knowledge with some on going training? For those of you that are close to finishing your training requirements lets get the job done this year.

Scheduled training courses for the spring term 2014 can be found here.

New Alternative Promise Wording

With effect from now you may wish to use an alternative scout promise the alternative wording for the promise, gives YOU an alternative to saying duty to God. Please note: It is your personal choice

The existing Scout Promise:

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.

New alternative wording of the Promise:

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To uphold our Scout values, to do my duty to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.

For Cub Scout section (ages 8 to 10½):

I promise that I will do my best
To uphold our Scout values, to do my duty to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Cub Scout Law.
For Beaver Scout section (ages 6 to 8):
I promise to do my best
To be kind and helpful and to love our world.

It has been a very busy Scouting build up to Christmas, I have been to the following events.

•    Visit to the 7th Scouts
•    Remembrance Day at Southampton Cenotaph
•    Meet with SSAGO
•    Meeting with Dc’s of Itchen North
•    Visit Appointments Committee Meeting
•    Pre Visit to Lyons Copse
•    District Swimming Gala at the Quays
•    Visit to the 22nd Exec Committee Meeting
•    Visit Training session Module 1
•    Turn on Wilverley Generator!!
•    Visit to 7th Cub Camp
•    13th Senior Citizens Party
•    Cub Carol Service
•    Visit 11th Scouts
•    Beaver Christingle
•    ADC GSL Christmas Gathering

If anyone wishes to talk to me and clarify anything, I am always pleased for you to contact me by email or by phone or in person just ask away.

Yours in Scouting, Colin Floyd, District Commissioner,

Mob Tel 07770364711 or  

please visit our district web site: