Goodbyes and hellos for the 20th

Moving on...Anya Sayer
Moving on...Anya Sayer

Autumn is the end of an era for a local Scout group, as the 20th Todmorden Scouts is saying farewell to five of its dedicated servants who represent 100 years of volunteering and dedication to the Scout Movement - though some of them won’t be leaving immediately.

Robert Goldthorpe is retiring both as District Secretary and secretary to the local scout group after a lifetime that has been devoted to scouting.

Rob has served both the group and the district and we thank him for his tireless service and support, not just for the 20th Todmorden Scouts but for scouting in Todmorden and the Calder Valley.

Although he resigns from his formal roles, he will continue to offer advice to the group’s executive committee.

Beaver leader and assistant group scout leader Rowena Goldthorpe said farewell to the group at the end of a fun filled weekend following more than 20 successful years volunteering with the 20th Todmorden Scouts.

The Beavers bought her a farewell present and presented it to her on the final day of their Beaver sleep over.

Rowena first starting helping the group as a parent helper in the 1990s and went on to become Beaver leader.

She has played a pivotal role in transforming the group. One highly successful example of this was to move Beaver meetings to one four-hour monthly meeting instead of the traditional weekly meeting, enabling the Beavers to participate in more adventurous activities and allowing more flexible volunteering for adults.

A group spokesman said: “We would like to say a massive thank you to Rowena for her contribution to the group. She has navigated the group through a period of massive change within the group, as well as Scouting nationally, and she is leaving the group riding along on the crest of a wave.”

Rowena will still be devoting plenty of time to scouting and guiding, in her role as Todmorden Gang Show producer.

Additionally, she is taking on a role as Assistant District Commissioner, looking after Beavers and scout movement members who have special needs.

Matthew Harrow left the Explorers group in September to concentrate on providing Duke of Edinburgh Awards for Todmorden High School, and the Explorer group will continue to have a good relationship with the school.

Matt brought the spirit of the outdoors to the group with his enthusiasm for hill walking, cycling and camping. Matt has led, supported and contributed over five years of his time to Explorers, Scouts and Cubs.

Jon Sayer joined the group ten years ago and has brought leadership and considerable expertise with him.

He has provided a wide range of opportunities and experiences for many young people in Todmorden as a result of his enthusiasm for adventure and the outdoors.

Through his vision, the 20th Todmorden has taken part in international expeditions to Poland and Switzerland and he leaves a group transformed by his contribution.

This contribution is not just to the young people that join the groups but also in encouraging many to volunteer to become assistant leaders, parent helpers and members of the executive committee.

His contribution to scouting, as well as his courage, is acknowledged at the highest level, hence his once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic flame in London.

The group wishes Jon and his wife, Anya Sayer, success in their bid to move to Australia and to continue their adventures with their young family.

The move won’t be immediate though, and Jon is, in the meantime, taking on the important role of District Commissioner, allowing the Scout Movement across the area to benefit from his experience.

Anya has also been thanked for her ten years of service to the group, for her support and leadership of Cubs and Beavers for many years.

Anya also made the journey from being a scout to assistant leader and then leading Cubs as a very young leader and immediately bringing new ideas to the role.

She has recently been awarded a badge of recognition of her ten years of service to scouting.

The group is losing a great wealth of experience, saying goodbye to five people who have volunteered their time unselfishly for periods ranging from five years, 20 years and a lifetime and who will be missed.

But the group, through their efforts, also welcomes new leaders who will continue the activities and traditions of the 20th.

From this month Explorers will be led by another of 20th Todmorden’s Olympic torch bearers, Emma Whitham; Scouts will continue to be led by Matthew Marshall; Cubs will be led by Alan Kenyon and Beavers by Rachel Ormerod.

The group is sure that they will continue the spirit of adventure and the tradition of their retiring colleagues of offering exciting opportunities for young people.

However it also needs volunteers willing to become leaders, assistant leaders, helpers or members of the executive.

Group Scout Leader, Allan Lawrence, said: “Change is sadly inevitable. The group and the enthusiasm and commitment of its leaders has really impressed me.

“I am extremely grateful to all of the retiring and departing leaders for the selfless contribution of their time and energy, which has transformed the lives of many young people and which continues in the form of a capable new generation of leaders and assistant leaders.

“I am sure some of our departing colleagues will continue to support scouting in Todmorden in new and different ways.”

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, has sent his own thank you to the contribution they have all made and hoped more volunteers would come forward to help groups everywhere.

He said: “I’d really like to say a massive thank you to you on behalf of all the young people who benefit from Scouting.

“It’s basically because of what you do together. You make the adventure possible.

“One of my big missions is to encourage people across the UK who have the time, enthusiasm and ability, whatever it is, to put something back into their communities.

“It’s about a lot of people doing a little.

“I don’t want to hear any more about kids who can’t join because of a lack of leaders.

“We’ve got a brilliant, talented nation and I want some of that talent to be used to support young people.”

Scouting nationally has 30,000 young people on its waiting list, and there is always the needto recruit more volunteers.

If you interested in joining the adventure now, please contact website www.20thscouts.org.uk or telephone 0845 300 1818.