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57th Renfrew & Inverclyde

One Sunday in 1957 in St Andrew’s Church in Larkfield, an announcement went out to all boys in the parish that a Scout Troop was being formed, and any boys interested were to come along.

Their first outing was to Shielhill Glen for an afternoon of fun and adventure.

The 57th Group were the first Group in Scotland to be able to have the St Andrew’s cross on their uniform. Their neckie was a pale blue colour.

More than 50 boys turned up, and the 57th Scout Group was formed. They met in St Andrew’s School Hall. In the early 60’s due to rising numbers the Scout Troop was split and the 57thb was formed meeting at St Gabriel’s School hall. Cubs met on a Tuesday and Scouts who were interested in working towards proficiency badges, First Aid training and Queen’s Scout Awards came along after Cubs.

The leaders who started it all were Group Scout Leader Charles McEleny, assisted by Scout Leader Mick Davies and Assistant Scout Leaders Eddie McGregor, John O’Hagen & Finlay Clark. The first leaders in the Cub section were Akela -Morag Lynch and Assistants Betty Robertson (McGuire) & Mada Scully.

Some of the first Scouts from those days were Harry McGhee, John Sutherland, Eddie Coyle & Peter Hearl, who later went on to become an Assistant Scout Leader in the 1962.

Over the next few years, the group enjoyed many fun activities, including running their own Gang Show with parents organising ‘Basket teas’ to raise funds to buy 57th colours. The Scout Troop won the Scout Shield 6 years in a row, and was a founder team in the Greenock & District under 14’s League.

The 60’s saw them take part in many camps both in Scotland and abroad to locations such as Invereck near Dunoon every other week, Port Anne near Lochgilphead, Dumfries, Banff (near Nairn), Brodie Castle in Forres Nairnshire, Bray (near Dublin), Isle of Man, Torquay, Scarborough & Belgium.

During the 1964 summer camp at Isle of Man, highlight for the 57th Troop was when a group of scouts, including John Grant (who later went on to become ASL & Mick Davies (Scout Leader) met HRH The Queen Mother.

When Charles McEleny retired as GSL in the early 70’s, Jimmy Canning took on this role assisted by some ex 57th scouts into helping out – Assistant Scout Leaders Pat Clark, Joe O’Malley, Billy Monkhouse & Alex Piggot and Scout Leader was Robert Lynch (now GSL at 10th R & I).

In 1969 Nan Canning took over the Cubs, from Ann Davies, she was helped out for a short time by Cub Commissioner Nan Connie, along with Margaret Dick & Isobel McBride until she gained her warrant.

Nan later had Frances McLaughlin and Gerry Reilly helping her out as Assistant Cub Leaders. Other Cub Leaders from the 70’s & 80’s include Catherine Gallagher (now McDonald), Morag Canning (now Gaffney), Marie McAuley (now Hughes), Ann McAuley & Graham Kelly.

The cubs in the 70’s enjoyed many memorable camps at Everton and in 1972 headed off to Lochgoilhead with the Scouts for a weekend of fun and water activities.

1972 also saw some of the Cubs join the rest of the District Cubs and Scouts on a sponsored walk and helped to raise the magnificent sum of £800.

The Scouts, with Jimmy as GSL enjoyed many weekends on the water at Lochgoilhead. Jimmy also established the Father & Son weekend camps, of which there was many. Famous camps from the 70’s were Oban and Scarborough.

Many scouts from the 70’s helped to swell the ranks of the Corlic Scout Pipe Band.

Highlight for the 57th in the 70’s was success in the 11-a-side District Football competition, which saw them beat the team from the 80th R & I and win the Football Shield.

Unfortunately the Group saw declining numbers during the 80’s, due mostly to the very popular youth clubs in surrounding schools, and was shut down.

The 57th Group might have closed its doors, but it’s spirit is still alive and kicking in the memories of a lot of young (and not so young) adults. A lot of the Leaders, Scouts and Cubs from the 57th now have children & grandchildren who are members as Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Leaders throughout groups in Greenock District.

Below is photoghraphs of the Pack and Troop taken in 1970.

57th Renfrewshire Pack.jpg

57th Renfrewshire Troop.jpg

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