Was it really 50 years ago?

30 November 2013

Did you know that 5th Letchworth is blessed with having its very own archivist? Ken Johnson, KJ to everybody, has been a 5th Letchworth member for most of its current history: i.e. since soon after it was re-formed in 1957.

Throughout that time, KJ has kept a meticulous diary of just about everything that he did: in Scouting and outside. He also has a trove of treasures and memorabilia from his time in Scouting. He is gradually handing over all of his mementoes to the Group and I thought it would be good to publish some of them as an occasional history of 5th Letchworth Scouts.

Here’s the first: an extract from his diary for the 16th November 1963 – 50 years ago.

 . ..I then gathered up a lot more things, changed my neckerchief from red and orange to purple and grey, and went straight back to the School for the 5L open night.

There were about 60 or 70 parents and supporters there, as well as loads of Cubs and a few Scouts. The rest of the Scouts had gone to the First Letchworth Guides party!

It was all quite good fun, but a bit confusing at times. I was given the job, with Mr Lewis, of selling-raffle tickets for the three prizes (torch, shoe-cleaning kit, and compass) and I enjoyed keeping up a barrage of sales talk in direct competition with Nancy Baker who was selling her tickets for the raffle of the chocolates.

I had a go at the Yupopitin, but only got one ball in the jam jar, and that was an empty one. I had a go at the bran tub and got a little plastic tank; and I had a go at the bowling for a pig, and missed every time. Mr Hodge tried that after me and he missed every time, too.

Robert Wilson made 200 and won the pig – a money box with some money in it. We did the first draw when the audience was sitting down in the hall, and John Lewis won the torch and Trevor got the shoe cleaning Kit!

Then we watched “Hurry Hurry”, which a lot of the people had apparently not seen before, for it caused a deal of laughter. They did the chocolate draw next, and then we saw “Accent on Adventure”, the film about Senior Scouting which I had wanted to see for some time. It’s pretty good; my only regret was that the near-Seniors were not there to see it.

After all the clearing up and brlnging things home, there was a quiet couple of hours by the fire, thinking about all the things still to be done in the next few days .

For information: At this time, 5th Letchworth was still meeting at Westbury School. Trevor is Trevor Thorne, Mr Hodge was at that time the District Commissioner and Mr Lewis is the father of David and John Lewis.