70th Greenock & District
The 70th Renfrewshire Scout Troop started life in 1932 with the first summer camp being held in 1933 in conjunction with the 1st Gourock (CDO) Troop (6th Renfrew and Inverclyde). TheTroop met in the Finnart Church hall and its formation was the brainchild of the then minister, the Rev A.R. Reid. He gave the task of setting up the Troop to Sam Faulds who was to become the first GSM.
There were three Patrols within a year of the Troop starting (the Wolf, Curlew and Woodpigeon). When Sam Faulds resigned in 1935, Ian Dunlop and Ian Hardie (both of whom were training for the ministry) ran the Troop as GSM and SM respectively for the next 4 years. A successful Wolf Cub Pack was started up in 1935 run by Sheila Dunlop, then Molly Elridge. A Rover Crew was also in existence.
The outbreak of war in 1939 was a huge set back for the Troop. A strong leadership team was decimated with Leaders being called up or assigned to war duties in other parts of the country. Only one Leader remained – 19 year old Wilson Hill. Under the fatherly eye of the Rev Donald Stewart (minister of Finnart Church) Wilson ran the Troop single handedly for the next 3 years. After 1942, it became more and more difficult for Wilson to attend regularly due to his own war duties, but he kept the 70th going with a string of temporary Leaders brought in from the Forces, and the Troop continued running to the summer of 1945.
1945-47 is a bit of a mystery. The Group closed down completely over these two years – does anyone know why ?
Victor Clark (an ex 70th Scout) restarted the Troop in 1947 and the Wolf Cub Pack restarted a year later led by Betty Nelson. Senior Sixer Douglas Brown “did his best” to recruit many new members to the Pack and ASM Brian Hodgson’s enthusiasm resulted in Troop numbers increasing. Week long Easter camps to places such as Invereck, Blairmore, Roseneath and Pitlochry became a tradition
Ian Blake (another 70th ex Scout from the 30’s) took over the Troop in October 1954.
He started a tradition, lasting into the 90s, of much enjoyed lengthy summer camps to various midge infested campsites in Argyll. During this time various trophies for signalling and other competitions had been won but the highlight was undoubtedly winning the Shannon Cup for camping.
In 1954, Isabel McBride took over the running of the Cub Pack and continued in that role until October 1978.
The year 1957 was a big one for Scouting since it was the 50th anniversary of the movement, and the Group played a full part in the celebrations, including sending 4 representatives to the World Jamboree at Sutton Coldfield (Alistair Shearer, Kenneth Conway, Hamish Rankin and Kenneth Johnston).
The sixties began with a new SM at the helm – Bob ‘Eccles’ Miller who was the first Scoutmaster to have risen from Scout to Scoutmaster within the Troop without any break. He maintained and strengthened the tradition of summer camps and brought in his own zany and distinctive style. Totem poles, funny hats, cloutie dumplings and GSM’s tea parties were all introduced as 70th traditions. The Troop won the Shannon Cup for a second time – a team led by Robin Crawford in 1965. By this time the troop numbered 6 patrols and the Finnart Church Hall was woefully inadequate. It was decided to bite the bullet and fund raise towards the building of a Scout HQ.
In 1967, the Rev Donald Stewart retired after many of years of invaluable support to the group and this was marked by a special presentation at Everton which included a Scouts’ Own where 80 members of the group managed to squeeze into the old Everton hut.
Bob Miller assumed the position of GSM, handing over the mantle of SM to Alastair Cram. The year 1968-69 was a significant date for the 70th with the opening of its new HQ at 159 Finnart Street which could comfortably accommodate both its numbers and equipment.
The 70th entered the 70’s with optimism and enthusiasm under the inspired leadership of Alastair Cram with numbers in the troop increasing to the highest they had ever attained with 8 patrols. Summer camps became the focus of the Scout year with the vast majority of Scouts attending.
The Group was at the forefront of Greenock Scouting with all Sections participating fully in District competitions and camps abroad. A highly successful Venture Unit was started in September 1972 and the Group ran trips abroad to Denmark in 1970 and 1977 and Canada in 1992. In 1977, GSL Ian Black had the foresight to start up a Pathfinder Section for under 8s under the Leadership of Moyna Kennedy. In 1978, Ruth Watker took over the leadership of this section and is still leading the Beaver Scout Section which evolved out of the Pathfinders.
In 2005, a party of Explorer Scouts attended Eurojam 2005 and the 70th will be well represented at the World Scout Jamboree in July 2007.
The Sectional Leadership teams continue to try to encourage the girls and boys in their Sections to set the highest of standards and the success in district competitions started all these years ago is still being achieved in modern times.
A dedicated team of Leaders have over the years given years of unstinting service to ensure that the 70th continues to provide Scouting relevant to the young people of today. Without the help, encouragement and unstinting support of the Group Executive members over the years the Group would not exist in its present HQ.
To view a selection of photographs, click on the image below.