20th Gillingham Scout Group Click here to login or sign up
Red links are Members Only!
Main Pages
Previous Events

The History of the 20th Gillingham

Taken From Project work by Mawson Knight, added to by Roger Lovesey

At the beginning...

Back in 1920 a Scout troop was started at Hempstead Village School, by the then Headmistress Miss ingram, she was also the local Girl guide Leader. In 1927 Eric Monk joined the scouts, at this time the Group had no Cub Pack and was known as the 21st Medway. Subscriptions were one old penny per week, equivalent to only a halfpence today! Eric later became the Group President and with his wife Madge donated the Land on which the Scout and Guide Hall stands today in Dukes Meadow Drive. In 1931 Miss Ingram left Hempstead, as no one was available to run the Troop the scouts had to attend at Wigmore. The Wigmore Troop is now known as the 8th Gillingham, their Group scarf is the same colour today as Hempstead was in the 1920s', Green and Purple halves.


Jackie Dyson

as a young person was a Brownie, Guide and a Sea Ranger where she learnt to tie many knots. When she was 17 she was approached by a friend to help run a Cub Pack, Jackie agreed and applied for a warrant, and she received this in 1953 on her 18th birthday ACM Assistant Lady Cub Master in Davenport. Her Husband worked in the Plymouth Dock Yard and transferred to Chatham in the autumn of 1960, moving their family home to Hempstead.

Jackie found there was nothing for the local boys to do although there were Guides and Brownies for the girls. Jackie started making enquiries about starting a Cub Pack in the spring of 1961, and in the early days it was more like a youth club, Jackie received a lot of support from Iris and Ken Wynn of the 8th Gillingham. Jackie then applied for a warrant and got a lot of support from the then DC Mr Gann and a Mr Holdsworth.  The Pack could not be recognised until Jackie received her warrant, this duly arrived in October 1962 and the 20th was born. Already running with a full Pack, Jackie selected the Blue Scarf with the White edging as she liked the colours and wanted something that showed out. The Group at that time met in the hall behind Hempstead Church and Madge Monk presented the Pack with a flag and a Totem Pole, one of the first Cubs was Trevor Monk.

Early days saw a lot of non-warranted helpers, David Selby and David Wright Scouts from the 8th use to help. Jackie put a lot of faith in her Sixers in helping with the running of the Pack, and her proudest moment was when they won a silver cup as ‘Pack of the Year’. In February 1968 Jackie moved to Newington and Wally Newby took over the running of the Pack.

Jackie has always kept a keen eye on the Group and is immensely proud of our achievements and that she started the 20th, from a small acorn a mighty oak has grown, may it remain so.



Jackie Dyson (nee Menhinick) started the 20th Gillingham (Hempstead) Cub Pack. Jackie went on to be ADC in Sittingbourne District, Akela and GSL of the 1st Newington, finally retiring from Scouting in October 2010. Jackie left the 20th in February 1968 when Mr Wally Newby took over the Pack; he remained in charge until December 1973 when he moved to Sheppy, Wally also started the Scout Troop according to County records in 1972. Janet Ayres who had been with the Group since 1969 took over the Wednesday Pack. In 1974 the Pack had 28 Cubs, One year later the total was 30 with 20 on the waiting list to join! The Group made the decision to open a second Pack, the Friday Pack was opened on 5th May 1975 by one Janet Ayres. Janet in fact was running both Packs at that time In 1980 it was reported that each pack had 30 boys, the problem now being that not all boys on the waiting list were found a place in the Packs. The Group at this time had only two Cub Scout Leaders with one helper and one instructor! the Wednesday Pack was known as the 'A' Pack and the Friday as the 'B' Pack. in 1983 they were named Spitfire and hurricane respectfully. In 1984 the group peaked with number of Cubs in the Group. THERE WERE 90 OF THEM!

  • 22nd June 1991. Cubs visit Gilwell park as part of 75 years of Cub Scouting celbration.
  • 30th November 1991. Five Cubs and Janet Ayres attend National 75th Anniversary Service at Westminster Centre Hall representing Gillingham. 1,500 Cubs completed the celebration with a Grand Howl.
  • 1992 Cubs no longer wear caps.
  • 1996 saw the first Beavers swim up to Cub Packs
  • 1st September 1996 Spitfire Pack raise £135.50 sponsored walk for the Cleft Lip and Pallet Association
  • 1998 3rd to 7th August Visit to KCC run centre at Hardelot, France, total of 40 members went. The first Cubs to do so, run by Roger Lovesey, other adults Steve Weller, Janet Ayres, Sue Weller, Steve Loud, Roger Vandersteen, Dave Pryde and Karen Gull Sister to Roger L and a CSL in Cheshunt
  • 2010 Spitfires win the the District Football competition winnig all five games.
  • Scouts

    Started in 1972 as land Scouts, in 1983 after a years hard work the Scout Troop gained RAF recognition number 48, (at the time there are only 50 Air Scout Groups in the Country and only 4 in Kent). The Troop that meets on Fridays adopted the name of the 'Eagles'.

  • 1990/1991 Scout Troop peaks with 50 boys in the Troop.
  • 1993/1994 5 Chief Scout Awards and 3 Chief Scout Challenge gained. during this year John Merrick was presented with a bravery award by the Scout Association, after being involved in a coach accident heading to Dover on a skiing trip with the school, John although hurt went and found help promptly. John also had the honour of attending St George's Day Parade at Windsor Castle led by Her Majesty the Queen.
  • 1994 troop attends International Jamboree at Detling and the Connect camp run by District, a camp giving disabled young people a taste of scouting (noted mainly Sausage and Beans)!
  • 1995Jeff Bark stands down as Troop Leader and Mike Woods takes charge. Richard Chipperfield gets selected to attend the World Jamboree by District.
  • 1996. Combined Camp held with the Guide Company (now defunct sad to say), Lads and Dads 18 members attended. The last of the Connect camps, always well supported by the 20th and if ever reserected would do so again. Summer Camp at Chalfont Heights.
  • 1997 Seven Scouts attend District survival weekend, the Troop is awarded the Kent Scouts Outdoor Activity Certificate (Gold).
  • 2000 Troop numbers are again on the rise, now 35 and the Leaders decide that this is a maximum.
  • 2001 30th March, date for the first meeting of a new Troop, named the 'Hawks' a mixed Troop starting with 7 young people by September the Troop had doubled to 14. In October the 'Eagles' visit RAF Cottesmore, Fourteen Scouts and 4 Leaders.
  • 2002 1st to 8th June Summer Camp in Austerlitz in Holland, led by Roger Vandersteen, assisted by Roger Lovesey, Steve Loud and Graham Scott. Two Explorer Scouts and ten Scouts cycle around the local area. Wecolmed by the Chief Camp Warden of Holland, to his house for drinks and egg and bacon sandwiches to watch the World cup Game of England against Argentina 1-0. Thank you Dirk!
  • 2003 21st to 23rd Joint Camp held at Kingsdown, a total of 64 members on site. Activities included a pioneerin project, service to the site, lamps stoves, tent pitching, cooking, saw and axe work, climbing and abseiling, grass sledging and a camp fire. Saturday night saw 7 new recruits invested into the 'Hawks'.
  • Beavers

  • 10th January 1995 Tuesday Colony opened, named 'Chinooks' in September 2000 when a Wednesday Colony was opened and named 'Hercules'.
  • 2001 7th April Chinooks first through the Wildwood centre after Foot and Mouth and got a mention in SCOUTING in the November issue
  • May 2002 a joint Hercules/Chinook team win the District Sports Day.
  • June 2003 - The first time Connex South Eastern had ever allowed a visit to Gillingham railway depot - we even had a ride through the train wash!
  • July 2007 - Arriva Bus Company lay on a special 'Beaver Bus' tour round the Medway towns, complete with unique electronic destination boards reading 'The Scout Association Centenary 1907 - 2007'.

    Ventures and Network 'EAGLES'

  • 1991. April Unit confirmed as being formed with 14 members. 14th June saw the first investitures attended by the District Commissioner and the Lord Mayor. same date farewell party held for Steve Woplin GSL. July Unit attend the 'SUN RUN' (Malvern Challenge), and has been attending every year since! meetings originally in peoples homes.
  • 1992 by October Unit has 19 members so village hall booked for wednesday meetings
  • 1994 Service crew for international camp at Detling.
  • 1995 First two silver D of E gained.
  • 1996 Unit enter the County organised Winter Challenge and wins. Ventures recieve praise from the Welsh training centre for the Scouting Skill levels.
  • 1997 Bob french joins in the fun at the Sun Run and raises £100

    Explorer Scouts 'TORNADOS'

  • Back to the future, Section formed in September 2000 under the Leadership of Richard Chipperfield and Neil Daniels with 7 members. Officially opened on the 28th February 2001, the first of its kind in the country. Honoured invited guests include Eric and Madge Monk, Chris Powel DC, Tony Fairclough. On this evening four members recieved D of E bronze awards, Mawson Knight recieves his warrant for Venture Scouts and Steven Hetterley was presented with his Venture Award

    Group related matters

  • 1980 The first Group magazine entitled 'TOP TWENTY' issued.It was envisaged to produce three issues a year and to provide a close link between all sections (3) and parents. At this time Janet Ayres was GSL and Akela. The magazine listed 7 Leaders at that time, but not the committee or the editor. the Group also produced a 'Gang Show' which was well recieved.
  • 1990 The Group is growing with 147 members, 100 club started by Peter Ingram
  • 1991 First of the Hempstead Clean Ups.
  • 1995 For consecutive years of running the Hempstead Clean Up, the Group recieves a Gold award from the Local Council plus a cheque for £250, accepted by Eric Monk and representatives from the Brownies, Scouts and Cubs
  • 1996. In February it is announced that the Cheif scout is to come to Hempstead to officially open the Groups New Headquarters in Dukes Meadow Drive. 23rd March Garth Morrison Cheif Scout open the building, Rhona Pryde organised the catering, Mrs hunt baked a large celebration cake. After the visit the building was open to the public, but only a few came in for the tour. In the evening a party was held for all those who helped in the project. The District Commissioner David Ainsley and Ray Jary GSL made short speeches on a job well done. The HQ signboard was painted by Alan Heyden and framed by Richard Hodson. The Group run three stalls at the village fete in the Summer. Thw 'Wine and wisdom raises £153 which is donated to the District Connect Camp. £450 worth of Silver Foil is collected on behalf of the Guide Dogs
  • 1999 group buy a minibus
  • 2000 Trophy cabinet made by Matthew and Martin Urch made and put up in entrance
  • 2001 first attendance to Disney land Paris organised by Janet Ayres
  • 2010 Group win District Development Shield as the Group increases in size
  • Air related

  • 1984, September 14th. Eric Monk at the Scouts National Parascending competition at RAF Watton, ascended with two lines and set a Kent record of 2,200 feet, it took Eric four minutes to descend back to the ground!
  • 1996 Air Camp held in Linton, all got a flight in a light aircraft
  • 2000 July 28th Four Scouts fly in a Hercules aeroplane with 30 Squadron at RAF Lyneham
  • 2000 October 28th Five Senior Scouts fly in trainer planes at RAF Wyton
  • 2000 November 14th Three Leaders and Eleven Scouts fly in a Chinook helicopter with 18 Squadron at RAF Odiham
  • 2000 November 18th Two Leaders and two Explorer Scouts fly in trainer planes at RAF Wyton
  • 2001 April 18th Two Leaders and nine Explorer Scouts fly in trainer planes at RAF Wyton
  • 2001 August 29th Two Leaders and 0ne Explorer Scout fly in trainer planes at RAF Wyton
  • 2001 October 19th to 22nd Five Leaders and Tweleve Scouts visit RAF Cottesmore, 3 Squadron who fly Harriers, visit the Space Centre in Leicester and hike round Rutland water
  • 2002 August 27th to 29th, Visit to RAF Coningsby, Visit to Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which were all in the hanger, Lancaster, Dakota, Spitfires, Hurricanes and Chipmunks. To 56R squadron who fly Tornadoes, Scouts were allowed to enter a cockpit. The group were shown round a Sentry aircraft. finally a visit to RAF Cranwell for a guided tour
  • 2008 8 Explorer Scouts and 3 Scouts were treated to an exclusive tour of RAF Cottesmore. They were introduced to the Harrier Engineering and Maintenance facilities; met the RAF police dogs; were shown the RAF Fire Service, got a fly-past in the Air Traffic Control Tower, and came back with large grins...
  • 2010 17th February Ten Scouts three Explorers and 5 Leaders visit RAF Mildenhall, 'The Bloody 100' refueling base Pizza, soda to start followed by a tour of the Station, KC-135R Strototanker, dog demonstration, visit to the fire station and a debreif by a US Pilot and all crammed in 6 and a half hours.
  • 2011 Scouts and Leaders visit RAF Henlow, visit includes Life Boat training
  • Page last updated on Feb 20, 2013
    20th Gillingham Explorers is powered by dibDibDib.com - set up a free content-managed website for your Scout Group in seconds!