Although I was in 1st Wellesbourne Hastings Cub Scouts, I joined the sea scouts in Newbold-on-Stour in about 1976.
The scout hut itself was actually a mile outside Newbold-on-Stour – there again it had to be to be beside the river! The hut was built on stilts, allowing us to store the various boats that we had underneath. The scout hut itself had a ward room, a stores, a galley and a main central area. Wintertime was when we concentrated on badge work whereas the summertime was for messing about on the river!
The river, and boating
The river itself was the Stour and there was a weir past the scout hut which kept the river artificially high, which was ideal for boating. By the river bridge, near to the scout hut, they had some years before done some soundings and they claimed that it was approaching forty feet deep!
The boats which we used included two large rowing dinghies, some smaller rowing dinghies and some single and double canoes. The canoes were wood and canvas and had been built by Percy Blandford who was an authority on canoes (amongst other things) and had a lot to do with the scout group. We later got some new fibre glass canoes, but I still preferred the wood and canvas ones (PVKs as they were called).
We were Admiralty recognised and so every year we had someone come down from the Admiralty to inspect us. When I was there it was always a Commander Creasey. He would see what projects we were doing and what badgework we were doing. Every year we passed.
Two events which we attended a public parade for each year were Remembrance Sunday and St George’s Day (which was combined into a Shakespeare weekend in Stratford-on-Avon). We were practising marching outside the scout hut for a St George’s Day parade once (which was a shame, we all wanted to be on the river!), probably not with the enthusiasm which we should have had, and the scout leader shouted at us to halt. Everyone did except for the two next to me who were so deeply engaged in conversation that they did not hear. We all found it amusing, although the leader was not as amused as the rest of us!
When you got to the age of 16 you left the scouts and had the option of joining the venture scouts, which I did for a couple of years. One thing which we did to raise funds was to arrange monthly discos in Newbold-on-Stour village hall. This was from autumn 1981 until summer 1982. They were some good evenings. There were two pubs in Newbold then, the White Hart, which is still there, and the Bird in Hand, which has since gone.
A drink for old times’ sake
I left the ventures when I turned 18 to go to polytechnic. I certainly had some good times and was sad to leave. On the few occasions that I go through Newbold, if it is around dinnertime, I do call into the White Hart for a quick drink for old times’ sake.