My first day in the 49th
Article by Rob Orland, 6th Jul 2014
Rob Orland's Scout CV:
Started as a Cub in 1974, then Scouts, Scout leader / Ventures, and later spent a couple of years as our Beaver Leader before the 49th finally came to an end in 1993.
Monday 28th October 1974.... I still remember it like it was 40 years ago! I was nine years old and my friend, Stephen Phillips, and I had been going to "Woodcraft" for the few months prior to that, but some friends at school told us about something better that several of them already went to.... something called Cubs. "What's the difference?" we asked. "Well, it's a bit like Woodcraft but the games are much better, and there are more of us there from school who you'll already know" we were told. It seemed like a good idea, so that evening Stephen and I walked up the dark entry between houses on Walsgrave Road, through some huge wooden gates, and poked our heads tentatively round the door to see what was inside. (It's funny looking back, but we never gave a second thought to any possible dangers lurking in the dark in those days.) Well, it was buzzing with activity, and straight away we recognised some familiar faces - the first two being schoolmates David Ansell and Jeffrey Nelmes I seem to recall. A couple of others had started recently, so Pete Boon - to be known by us all as Akela - held a little get-together for about four of us newcomers in the kitchen, where he informed us about the "movement" we had just become part of. We were told about Baden Powell, the first ever Scout camp on Brownsea Island, and the various years when Cubs and Scouts began. And after all this time.... I still can't remember what those years were! Pete was a fun-loving Cub Leader, like a second dad to most of us, but still took his role very seriously. He visited all parents of would-be Cubs to explain to them what they were letting their kids in for - a diligent attitude that I've always admired. We were well looked after by a bunch of capable leaders, and among them were Maureen McLanaghan, Lucy Barnes, Steve Gould, and a lovely lady called Sue Adlington who was in a wheelchair due to a recent car accident, but she left soon after I joined. At that time I didn't know their real names though, as we only referred to the leaders by their Jungle Book names - things like Bagheera, Kaa, Raksha & Shere Khan. That first evening back in 1974 obviously did nothing to put me off returning, and so I kept on coming back to that wonderful headquarters (and later, sadly, to Briton Road school, but that's another story) in various roles until the remains of the group were finally merged in with the 47th in the summer of 1993.