A special party has just marked the centenary of 1st Kirkby-in-Ashfield Guides. Held on 16 June at the Scout & Guide HQ on Rectory Lane, Kirkby, the afternoon gave members and leaders – both past and present – a chance to share memories, experiences, tea and cakes, and even to try on some vintage uniforms!
‘Time on Saturday seemed to stand still,’ exclaimed Guide Leader Claire Sharman, who helped to organise the event. ‘It didn’t seem to matter whether you were a Guide in the 1950s, the 1970s or the 2000s, we were all proof of what girls and young women get out of being a member of Girlguiding, and how relevant – and how much fun – it continues to be for every generation.’
Since 1st Kirkby-in-Ashfield Guides was registered in January 1918, Guiding in the town has continued without a break. The unit first met under the leadership of the rector’s daughter in the church rooms next to the old rectory. ‘It must have been an exciting moment for a small town in north Notts, given that it was an era when girls didn’t have the freedom and opportunities that they do today!’ reflects Claire.
As well as being treated to tea and cakes, the girls and their guests tried out some old uniforms and kit from Girlguiding Nottinghamshire’s county archives. Wrapping themselves in camp blankets, Millie (12), Heather (11) and Jessica (11) agreed that ‘Guiding is important because girls can do want they want – like camping! And we’ve met loads of new friends since joining Guides!’
Other activities at the party included a tombola to support members attending the Norjam international jamboree in August. Two of those going are Izzy and Zara, who will celebrate her 13th birthday whilst she is away. ‘It will be great to meet other Guides and find out what they do in their units so we can bring ideas back for our own meetings,’ said a very excited Izzy as she cut into the centenary cake. Zara added ‘We’re especially looking forward to the day out at a theme park!’ Both girls relished the challenges of the MegaMoot weekend camp in May and plan to move up to Rangers as soon as they are old enough.
1st Kirkby-in-Ashfield Guides have designed a badge to commemorate their centenary, which is also being worn by members of the town’s Brownie and Rainbow units. The milestone has also been marked by planting hundreds of spring bulbs in tubs provided by Ashfield District Council opposite the Kirkby Cross monument.
Girlguiding Nottinghamshire’s Assistant County Commissioner Kayleigh Hunt was delighted to be invited to join in the centenary celebrations: ‘It was wonderful to see Guides and Leaders, both past and present, all sharing their experiences of Girlguiding,’ she reflected. ‘When you think back over the past 100 years, Guiding has as much relevance now as it did back then. We’re still supporting communities, taking action and giving a voice to girls and young women everywhere!’