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17 February 2014
Scouts reunion
Scouts reunion brings back memories

A group of Skewen Boy Scouts from the '60s held a recent reunion in Cardiff. Fourteen members of the two Skewen Troops operating back then, known as the 4th and 9th Neath, had all been in Scouting in the late 1950s and 1960s. They had much catching up to do, some never having seen others in the group since those days. Back then Boy Scouts wore short trousers and some present admitted that they still hung on to their badge-bedecked uniform shirts. It was an era with a different attitude to health and safety. Those present recalled travelling to summer camps in a loaned furniture removal van. With the tents and other camping gear stowed upfront next to the driver's cabin, the Scouts rode in the back of the van, hanging their heads out of the half-opened tailgate en route. The group was interested to learn of their fellow Scouts' careers over these decades.

Those present included an ex-Royal Marine injured in the Falklands War and a retired Neath hospital surgeon. A toast was raised to the memory of the late Mrs Gwen Slee, a great supporter of Scouting, Guiding and other charitable causes in Skewen. It was she who'd kept a record of the Skewen Scouts from when her two sons were Troop members and had long urged that a reunion be organised. Also fondly remembered was the late Sid Cooper MBE, highly respected as the long-serving Scout Leader in Skewen. Tribute was paid as well to one of the reunion group, Anthony Johnson, who received in 2013 the highest award in Scouting, the Silver Wolf, for outstanding services to the Scout movement in this area. The event was so enjoyed that those present looked forward to similar such reunions. Any other former Skewen Scouts from that era would be welcome at a future reunion and are invited to contact the organiser of this highly successful occasion, Robert Arbourne, the current President of the Skewen Scouts, at robarbourne@bti
Sent in by
Jeff Griffiths

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