Joyful celebrations as Snettisham Scout Hall is officially opened

Joyful celebrations as Snettisham Scout Hall is officially opened
Cutting the ribbon. Lord and Lady Fellowes with Dudley Scott. Credit Ian Burt

On 10th June Lord Robert Fellowes returned to Snettisham Scout Hall to cut the ribbon having cut the first turf in December 2018

He was accompanied by his wife Lady Jane Fellowes who was a Brownie at West Newton as a young girl.

'Be prepared' is the famous Scouting motto and the Snettisham Scout Group has demonstrated their resilience and fortitude though the ups and downs of the new Hall project at Jimmy’s Field.

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"We are overjoyed.'

Snettisham Scouts were formed in 1932 and until the summer of 2018 they met at the Park Lane Hall in the village.

In the early 1930s, Dr. Learoyd purchased a 20-acre plot of land with the intention of turning it into a scout camp site. His main objective was to have a site within close proximity to the sea where they could invite poorer troops from London.

With the help of the Scouts, scores of trees and bushes were planted, a well was dug out and a pump erected, latrines were made, a gate put up, and the field was christened ‘Diglea’, and hundreds of boys descended upon it during the summer holidays.

After a scout trip to Belgium was cancelled due to war being declared in 1939, the Scouts stayed behind filling sandbags and beginning their messenger service for the war.

Diglea was taken over by the RAF and the American Air Force, and soon became known as ‘Tent City’: in place of all of their trees and bushes were concrete slabs and heaps of iron and girders. After the war, Dr. Learoyd sold the majority of the land but kept 3 acres and gifted it to the Scouts.

On the subject of naming the field, it was the doctor’s wish for them to honour Snettisham scout Jimmy Otway, who lost his life fighting in the war; so Jimmy’s Field was born.

For the last 70 years, the field has seen scouts from around the world come down to camp, as scout-owned land is quite a rarity. However, the premises lacked a lot of facilities.

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Mark Middernanchet & (R) Dudley Scott

Dudley Scott has been with Snettisham Scouts for forty years and he remembers camp fire chats when plans for a new building would be discussed late into the evening. Addressing the Scouts and visitors at the opening ceremony he said that many people thought the day would never come but now there was a facility of which everyone could be very proud. “This hasn’t been one person’s achievement, rather it’s everyone’s and today I want to say that we are eternally grateful to all the suppliers, contractors and everyone who has donated to the project; thank you all.”

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October 2019 - Part way through the build (from left) David McGuiness, Chris Seare and Rob Shears with their model of the completed hall.

Work began at the site in early 2019 and by September that year good progress had been made. The scaffolding was still up and they were waiting for the roof to go on and outside cladding fitted. Covid interrupted the building works and the project was delayed however, the beautiful building is now fully operational and is used by Snettisham Scouts, Cubs, Brownies and Guides three nights a week. Additionally, most of this summer it is already booked for visiting groups .

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The opening ceremony that included prayers from Rev Dan Tansley was followed by an open day which was open to everyone. Snettisham WI ran a sumptuous buffet in the building while outside in their gazebo Hunstanton and District Rotary filled the air with the smell of cooking bacon for their rolls.

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Kirsty Stocks with son Harvey and his friend Finley at the Rotary gazebo with catering team Jean-Marie and Christine Vernon and Roger and Jean Raven. T&A

Scouting is often a family tradition and this is true with the Scotts as Dudley’s daughter Nicky, already a Brownie leader for twenty years, has opened the village Cub pack. She said: “I could see a need for a Cub Pack to encourage young children to embrace new challenges, experience new adventures, discover new talents but importantly gain skills for life.

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Nicky Scott & Jessica (9)

“Each week over 450,000 young people get the chance to enjoy the scouting programme.

“In Snettisham many children want to join Beavers but are so disappointed to hear that there are not enough adults willing to run it; could you be an extra adult either full or part time? The team are a lovely group and we just need a few extra people – even if it’s for 15 minutes taking the register and subs. Please get in touch to find out more:

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Images: Ian Burt

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