2ND HELLESDON SCOUT GROUP
Seeing the steady growth of the population in Hellesdon and, one hopes after consultation with the long established 18th Norwich, the Vicar of Hellesdon, the Rev. Alan Carey proceeded to start, in 1953, a Wolf Cub Pack in Coronation Hall, Meadow Way, for boys in the Upper Hellesdon area. He assumed the roll of Group Scout Master (now Leader) and Cub Scout Master. It soon became clear that the boys of Lower Hellesdon had similar requirements and a second Pack was formed and met at the disused Railway Station at Drayton Low Road j/w Marlpit Lane Drayton.
Having started the ball rolling the Rev. Carey was soon to be posted elsewhere. A Scouter from the 18th Norwich, Roy Robinson was invited, and became, the new and officially the first, G.S.M. The Group was officially registered on 16th March 1954.
By this time two Scout Troops had been formed; Land Scouts at Coronation Hall and Air Scouts at Drayton. The various committees of the Group met in the local Community Centre.
Despite the method of its formation the Group was never sponsored by the local church and remained an open Group. As the Group progressed it gradually outgrew space and welcome, and consideration for its own H.Q became top of the agenda the Group acquired its present site, 46a Middletons Lane, Hellesdon in 1960.
The present site was first a brick-fields and the removal of clay for manufacture of bricks for the Middletons Brick Co. resulted in the hollows and shape of the grounds today. In 1954 a Mr Cleghorn used the site to store his steamrollers until the owner Mr A.J. Sadler, an engineer, sold the site to the Scout Association Norwich Area Trustees on the 27th November 1959 for the sum of £750. In 1960 the site was given by Area, in Trust, to the Group as custodians, whilst still retaining ownership.
However, that part of the site now known as 46 Middletons Lane had building permission for a dwelling and was sold by Area, to Roy Robinson on 28th December 1960 for the sum of £200. Early plans of the area show Mr Sadler having a second entrance to the headquarters, namely between 42 and 44 Middletons Lane, this unfortunately, was not part of the purchase by the Association.
The site was undeveloped and the Group set to obtain a temporary headquarters building in the form of a 50 x 18 Wooden Hut. Purchased from RAF Stiffkey, near Holt at a cost of £60. The building was dismantled, transported and re-erected and gradually refurbished at a further cost of £140. Not bad until you read Jumble sale profit £ 13.11.9d in the minutes of the day. Mind you, records also show that Waste Paper Collection and an association with Whites Ltd was as strong then as today. Considerable hard work converted the long drive into something reasonable and on 3rd May 1961 Roy Robinson announced that all activities would, in future, take place in the new hut, built on the site of the present concrete stores building.
On acquiring the land, plans were immediately drawn up by J.W. Draper, FRICS Hon Surveyor, Boy Scouts Association, on behalf of the Group, to build a Headquarters. These, dated, July 1960, were Approved by the local authority, St Faiths & Aylsham Rural District Council, on the 22nd September 1960. By November 1961 grants covering the majority of costs (about £3000) were available and the contracts signed. Built by Mr R.C. Walpole (Builder) after a successful sealed tender agreed at a meeting on 5th September 1962, they were officially opened by Dr Lincoln Ralphs on 9th March 1963 (the Groups 9th Birthday).
In 1962 a Rover Crew was formed (one of the few in Norfolk) under the leadership of Frank Johns a local man whose family still keeps in touch. At this time the Group had some 80/90 enrolled members. On 5th April 1963 Alan Robinson retired on being moved to Cambridge with his work. Frank Johns took over as Group Scout Leader. He recruited Russell Cage onto the Parents Committee where he eventually became Chairman. On Franks retirement in 1969, Russell took over as Group Scout Leader at the request of the Scouters of the day, until retirement in 1993. In 1994 he was invited to become Life President.
The original wooden hut continued service till 1989 when through the work of Russell and Supporters it was replaced with the new stores at a cost of £4,500. It was delivered and built whilst Russell was on holiday, and was his coming home present. Derek Smut Smith still had a full set of keys for the new stores when he retired as Assistant Scout Leader in 1995.
On 5th May 1970, Scout Jamie Chaplin, painted a mural of a Cooking fire with suspended Cauldron stewpot on the rear wall of the Headquarters. This mural became the group logo and is now depicted on a badge now worn on the rear of all Group Scarves.
The grounds, some 4 acres in area, now include an Abseil Tower, Air Rifle Range and Camp Fire circle. Two large fields provide camping space with enough room for Archery conservation, quiet and campfire activities. RAF Neatishead donated the present Flagpole in 1992. The group continual develops the grounds, buildings and equipment that it owns and hopes to for continued success for the next 45 years.