"You will already have heard that Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, GBE, World Chief Guide and widow of Robert Baden-Powell, First Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell OM, Founder of the Scout and Guide Movements, died peacefully in her sleep on 25th June aged 88.
It is impossible to assess the great qualities of leadership, judgement and energy which Lady Baden-Powell gave to Scouting and Guiding, but her passing will be mourned by over 20 million Scouts and Guides in more than 100 countries.
Olave St. Clair Soames was born in 1889 in Derbyshire, the daughter of Harold and Katherine Soames. In 1912 she married the then Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who had founded the Boy Scout and Girl Guide Movements in 1907 and 1910. Although 32 years younger than her husband, Olave Baden-Powell shared his birthday, 22nd February, now known to Scouts as ' Founder's Day ' and to Guides as ' Thinking Day ' when they remember friends overseas.
In 1974, The Chief Guide stated how she would like to be remembered after her death. Her wish was as follows:
' No mourning as such - all rejoicing and happy remembrances and delight at my having completed my life - my prayer has been answered -
' God give me work till the end of my life
' God give me life till my work is done.
' Now I hand mine on to others.'
After a private cremation service the World Chief Guide's ashes were flown to Kenya to be buried in her husband's grave at Nyeri.
We can all remember with happiness and gratitude the fact that our World Chief Guide was able to take an active interest in the Movement until the end of her life ."
From Guider Vol 64 Number 8 August 1977, page 343
World Wide Messages of Condolence
These messages were printed in Guider Vol 64 Number 8 August 1977, page 345
Lord Baden-Powell has received a telegram from Her Majesty The Queen:
' I am so sorry to hear of the death of your grandmother and send you my deepest sympathy. Olave Baden-Powell will always be remembered for her unique contribution to the Guide Movement throughout the world.
A letter from Kensington Palace, on behalf of Princess Margaret, GGA President
Princess Margaret has bidden me to write to you to express her very real sorrow at learning of the death of Lady Baden-Powell.
Her Royal Highness has so many personal memories of your Grandmother, and their numerous meetings and talks together over the years were full of kindness, warmth and humour. The Princess will miss her wise counsel greatly.
The loss of the World Chief Guide has brought sadness to millions. Whenever Princess Margaret travelled abroad, she was always greeted by Members of the Girl Guide Movement with enquiries about Lady Baden-Powell, and was told of the pleasure and joy which her countless tours in every country gave to so many young people. Her Royal Highness is sure that the warmth of Lady Baden-Powell's personality and her great spirit will live forever in the Girl Guide Movement.
I am to send a message of Princess Margaret's sincere sympathy to Lady Baden-Powell and yourself.
Yours sincerely, Napier and Ettrick (Private Secretary, Comptroller and Equerry)
BELOW is a selection of the many messages of condolence received following the death of our World Chief Guide Olave, Lady Baden-Powell. We feel sure readers will be heartened by the sympathy shown by Members of the growing Guide Movement throughout the world. To those who sent telegrams which are not printed here, we can only say that the numbers received were so great that we could not possibly print them all. All the messages of sympathy were greatly appreciated.
Continent of Europe
We regret the death of your Chief Guide Olave Lady Baden-Powell but we will always remember her inspiring example
Deepest condolences Great gratitude for a wonderful life
Cora Aspey 1st Oporto Company (Portugal)
On behalf of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Associations of Cyprus we wish to express our deep condolences for the loss of beloved Chief Guide Olave Lady Baden-Powell
Costas Christou ino Zachariadou Chief Commissioners
The President, Lady Martin, the Island Commissioners and all the Members of the Guernsey Girl Guides and all the members of the Guernsey Girl Guides Association have been very saddened by the news of the death of the Chief Guide and they would be grateful if you would convey their heartfelt sympathy to her family stop This sympathy is shared by the President Sir John Loveridge and all Members of the Scout Association
Bailiwick of Guernsey
Please convey condolences to family of Lady Baden-Powell from the Scout Organisation Gibraltar
Bank of England Scout and Guide Society wish to express sympathy at the sad passing of our Chief
Malcolm Wadsworth Chairman Bank of England
We wish to express our sadness at the passing of Olave Lady Baden-Powell stop She will always be remembered
Manchester University Scout and Guide Club
Old Guides from the Norwegian Girl Guide Association touring in Gr Br are gratefully thinking of Lady BP and her unselfish work for our Movement
Uganda Guides Scouts regret death of Olave Lady Baden-Powell convey condolences relatives friends World lost great leader missionary of God's love among men God rest souls Lord, Lady Baden-Powell
Chief Commissioner Uganda Scouts
Zambia joins tribute to Olave Lady Baden-Powell. Her living memorial will last.
Deeply grieved to hear about the passing away of our Chief Guide stop Accept our sincere condolences
Tanzania Guides and Scouts
The National Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of the USA on behalf of the entire membership extend our deepest sympathy to you and members of the family on the death of Chief Guide Lady Baden-Powell stop She was a dear friend and inspiration to Girl Guides and Girl Scouts throughout the world and she will be missed Dr Gloria D Scott National President Girl Scouts of the USA
Sincere sympathy on Olave Lady Baden-Powells passing we remember well her visit to Sydney
Helen Cutler President Girl Guides Association New South Wales Government House
Girl Guides throughout Papua New Guinea convey their condolences
Kala Kila Chief Commissioner
Australian Guides past and present send sympathy in your loss of Olave Lady Baden-Powell
We learn with grief the death of our Chief Guide and offer her family our condolence stop We will remember her as the most outstanding woman in Guiding during her time and one of the world's top leaders stop
Girl Guides Brunei
The fire that warmed up has gone out our Brownie lights will glow bright with her memory stop may we warm others as she warmed us
From First Johnsonville Brownie Pack, Wellington New Zealand
Girl Guide Movement Grenada express sorrow losing Chief Guide stop Archer Martin Byer included personally
Girl Guides of Jamaica
Deepest sympathy from President Association and Girl Guides of Antigua
Regret passing Lady Baden-Powell send deepest sympathy
President Guide Association Dominica
St Vincent greatly mourns the passing of Chief Guide stop Please extend to Lady Baden-Powell and relatives deepest sympathy
St Vincent Association
Deepest sympathy on the death of the Worlds Chief Guide
Anguilla Girl Guides Association
Our deepest sympathy we share the grief
Guide Association St Lucia West Indies
Deepest-sympathy from all of us in the Guide Association in Seychelles on the sad loss of the Chief Guide
Following from Norma Empringham Commissioner quote the Guides and Brownies of Ascension Island are very sorry to hear of the death of our Chief Guide stop We shall keep her spirit alive and continue to strive towards the fine example she set us throughout her life unquote
The Israel Boy and Girl Scout Federation join the Scouts and Guides in mourning the passing of the Chief Guide Olave Lady Baden-Powell Israel Scouts
Solomon Islands Guides deeply mourn passing of Chief Guide stop We give thanks for her wonderful life and example
A letter was received from the Trefoil Guild by The Lady Baden-Powell
Dear Lady Baden-Powell,
It was with great sorrow we heard on Sunday of the death of our beloved Chief Guide. I know all our Trefoil Guild members will wish me to express on their behalf our very deepest sympathy with all her family while remembering her with gratitude and love.
So many of us have such happy memories of meeting her, of the warmth of her personality and the inspiration she gave to all who came in contact with her.
She was always so interested in the Trefoil Guild and we loved to have her at our special events. We shall miss her greatly, for although she had not made any public appearances lately, we knew she was there behind us to give us her support when needed.
Our thoughts and love are with you and all her family at this sad and difficult time.
Adeline Willis General Secretary
Received from the National Union of Students
Dear Lady Baden Powell,
I am writing to express our sympathy with you on the death of Olave, Lady Baden-Powell.
In the past two years, our organisation has worked more closely with the Scouts and Guides through the British Youth Council and has come to appreciate some of the fine qualities of internationalism and social concern which your Movement has encouraged. I hope that the working relationships developing between us will continue as I am sure Lady Baden-Powell would have wished in the spirit of co-operation between young people.
Sue Slipman President-elect
A letter from the Boys Brigade Headquarters to Lord Baden-Powell
I am writing on behalf of the Brigade President, the Executive Committee and members of the Boys' Brigade, at home and overseas, to convey our deepest sympathy on the death of Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, GBE, the World Chief
We thank God for the life of Lady Baden-Powell, whose lively personality, tireless energy and outstanding leadership has done so much to advance the work of the Scout and Guide Movements throughout the world.
Alfred Hudson Brigade Secretary
We received this letter of appreciation from Lord Baden-Powell, grandson of the late World Chief Guide.
' I should like to express through you my whole family's gratitude for the very many heartfelt letters and telegrams that they have received on the death of the Chief Guide. They have brought great comfort to us, although we, like Guides everywhere, keenly feel the gap left by the head of our family being no longer with us in the flesh. We know her to be still with us in spirit, though, and hope that all the members of her greater family may feel the same way in the future.' Baden-Powell