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1964 - 1974

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1st August, 1967:-

Unveiling The Brownsea Stone 

The unveiling of the Brownsea Stone by Betty Clay on 1st August, 1967 (from her diary).

Monday, 31st July 1967.

Fine and warm
Went to Bournemouth to stay with Desmond Everdale-Hawks for our visit to Brownsea Island where the Scouts are holding a Camp for Patrol Leaders as part of their Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.  It was opened by the Chief Scout on Saturday.

Tuesday, 1st August, 1967.

Rainy & dull
Went to Brownsea Island for the first time, rather wonderful to actually walk about on the Site where dad had his experimental camp, 60 years ago to the day, to see if his ideas were possible & acceptable to the boys.  He must be proud of his Movement now, with its 10 1/2 million members in 89 countries - in fact, 17 1/2 million with the Guides as well - and the other millions who have been members of it & been influenced by it & by him.

We were taken to the island by the ex-owner, Mr. John Bonham -Christie, in his own lovely motor-launch, met by Col. Hamblin (ex. County Commissioner, Dorset & now Chairman of Council), Col. leslie Griffiths (now C.C., youngish & good-looking & very pleasant & kind-looking) & atractive wife Anna (vivacious & dark, 5 children!), Bryce Ross(District Commissioner in kilt, very nice) & attractive fair pregnant wife Jean; & Mrs. Dykes, (Guide C.C.A.. in charge of all Guide camping on the island which is newly allowed this yaer).

Went round the huge Castle, foundations & parts of it 15th century defensive, altered terrifically every century & now completely modernised & leased by big London shop John Lewis as a holiday house for their employees.  Wardens Mr. & Mrs. Wenster took us round, & Mr. & Mrs. Gaze escorted us (agent of the National Trust for S.W. Area, which now owns the island).  The last owner, Mrs. Christie, was very eccentric & forbade anybody to land on the island or to kill anything, & allowed it to run completely wild, infested with rats, etc., also peacocks bred wild, & some exotic pheasants which are now still preserved.  Mr. Christie her grandson had to hand over the Island to Government as part of her death duties in 1961, & the Government sold it to the National Trust; who allow the Scouts 25 acres of dad's original camp site.

Met there by Lawrence Stringer, Camp Leader of the Diamond Jubilee P.L.'s camp, & we saw a little of the activities, not as much as we had hoped because the heavy rain prevented the team games, the assault courses, the pioneering projects, etc., so they were all in Marquees, being taught by experts - life-saving, artificial respiration, knots, e& a film show, & TV was working on boys dressed in the new uniforms.

Met also Ken Stevens from London HQ, who is the Camp Organiser; & lots of others, evidently an excellent full staff, & a Sea Scout Crew as staff workers doing all the stores, etc..  200 boys in camp, in sub-camps named after dad's original Patrols.

We had lunch in the Staff Marquee with the sub-camp leaders, then, I'm thankful to say, the rain stopped & the sky lifted a little & it was lighter & less dull for the rest of the afternoon - I feel certain thanks to intervention by Dad ! 

Then we did the ceremony of Unveiling the Stone to commemorate the 1907 camp.  The band of the 13th/18th Hussars was there playing, & they did a fanfare of trumpets as we arrived at the Guard of Honour, & Lawrence & I strode through it to the Stone shrouded in bunting.  

We turned to face the crowd (lots of public there too) & the TV cameras, & I don't think I've ever been so Nervous on parade before.  I've never been on TV, & was rather un-nerved at the casual almost rude manner of the cameraman who said mty "few words" must be as "few" as possible, & "of course we can always cut it down if it's too long", and they only have half-an-hour for the whole Brownsea programme so certainly won't waste more that 5 minutes on this bit, so I knew I had to get in something Inspirational in 2 minutes flat !

Lawrence made quite a "long" speech, at least 4 minutes, in which luckily he said part of mine so I could leave that out, but it meant that 

I had no time to work-up to my Peroration, & had to jump straight into it.  I don't think I was good; very forced & Un-inspired, & I don't think it made any impact at all.  However, I did my best & pulled the right string & the Veil fell from the Stone to reveal a great block 10ft high, of a dull & meaningless shape, with a very beautifully carved long inscription.  Done by Don Potter, who was there, dressed in mufti which shocked me, with rather long grey lanky hair; he is Art Master at Bryanston School; I was a little disappointed in the dullness of the Stone, & wished he had made it in the vague shape of a fleur-de-lys, but I suppose he couldn't fit in all the words if he had.

Immdiately after I had unveiled it, Lawrence made another little speech thanking me, & dismissed the parade, & we stood for photos; then dispersed & he escorted us round the camp itself, & we could talk to some of the boys & see their gadgets, etc..  I didn't think their standard of gadgets was a bit good (though admittedly I didn't examine many cloaely) - & we saw some doing pioneering at a ravine.  

They sem to be enjoying themselves all right which is the main thing.

We met 2 of the men who had been at Dad's camp - Arthur Primmer, & Giles, both of course now in their 70s.
Left about 5.  I wish I was more Receptive & could have FELT Dad more, & I long to be more influenced by him & feel his presence & his power & his inspiration & his wisdom & his brilliance & his good sense - I fear I don't because I don't concentrate strongly enough on receiving it, & still rely too firmly on my own busy ideas & doings.

Wednesday, 2nd August, 1967

We had a lazy morning, & in the afternoon watched Desmond doing a little of her skilled hobby, fretsawing a jig-saw puzzle.  After a rest, we gardened a little, I cut her lawn-edge as I did last time I was here, & then people came to tea for a bit more relaxed chat than we could have yesterday: Arthur Primmer, he remembers Dad best at the campfire, & he told stories of his adventures which enthralled them. 

Primmer has recently been to New York for a wireless programme, he & another of the Old Boys, "What's the Link?" where they appeared before a panel of questioners who tried to discover what they shared in common, i.e. both went to Brownsea Camp.  The panel did not guess!

Also Mr. Leslie Griffiths, County Commissioner & Mr. Andrew Wood the new District Commissioner - designate, as Bryce Ross is going to do a County job so is giving up the District; & Bryce Ross.

They evidently enjoyed all our chatter because they didn't leave until after 7 ! Great fun & I DO like Bryce, he's so lively & full of energy & fun & jokes, & Very chattery, & adores & reveres Mum & Dad.

Thursday, 3rd August, 1967

We were up lateish & leisurely, & left about 10:30, took Desmond with us & met Bryce at Poole Municipal Hall & saw their Scout & Guide Corner, Scout & Guide flags over a glass case, with the portraits of Dad & Mum, & the beautiful Scrlls of the Freedom of the City given to them both, 20 years apart, & the silver Caskets they were in.  Very nice, & *I* approve of her giving these things backto the place they came from, G. doesn't, he thinks the family should keep them.  Then to see Gray Rigg, now called Crichel Place, No. 25, Minterne Road, Parkstone; (owners Whitelock). her old home, & then nearby a Commemorative Stone on Evening Hill overlooking Poole Harbour & Brownsea, Mum unveiled the stone this year.  All nice & romantic, & it really is most warming to find a place where they are both remembered & revered all this time after.

"Seize the present moment, The evening hour is nigh" [Thomas Grice 1705] written on the sundial.  Right for Mum !  
We left about 12 & got home [Wiverliscombe] about 3.

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