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80th Greenock & District

On 8th Nov 1957 the Rev. Andrew Swan of the Bow Farm Church ( St.Margarets Church) gave notice to the Kirk Session that ‘there was an intention of setting up a company of Scouts under the leadership of Mr David Harbison, the Assistant Minister who was a former Scout Master at the 7th Scout Group at the Union Church’.

The original 80th Scout Group was opened on the 4th May 1937, Registration Number 18623, which made them the 4th Scout Group in Greenock. The Group met at 24 Robertson St (later to become 45th HQ and District HQ) under the leadership of Scout Master Mr W.H.H Ferguson and Assistant Scout Master Mr J. Mackay. The Group closed in 1945 with 18 Wolf Cubs, 19 Scouts and 2 Officers.

The 80th Group, as we know it today, were officially registered at Gilwell Park on the 3rd Feb 1958, registration Number 33735 under the leadership of Scout Master Mr David Harbison and Assistant Scout Master Mr Colin Carson. Originally the Group met in a hall on Paton St but moved to Lady Alice Primary school, in 1970 when they became an ‘Open Group’, where we have continued to meet.

Some of the first Scouts and Patrol Leaders were Norrie Thompson, George Williamson, George Loosens, Stuart Darroch and Alex McLean. In August 1958 they were joined by Assistant Scout Master Mr Jack Glenny who continued with the Group until 1963 when work forced him to travel south.

In September 1958 the Cub section was started under the Guidance of Miss Agnes Anderson as Cub Mistress. Soon afterwards Miss Anderson moved to become the Guide Leader and the Cubs were led by Mr Donald Darroch.

There have been many Leaders in the history of the Group, but throughout that time the name ‘Carson’ has been synonymous with the 80th.

Mr Colin H Carson served with the Group from its beginnings in 1958 until he reached retirement age in 2001. In 1985 he received a Silver Acorn award for over 20 years distinguished service while holding Adult appointments. In 1992 he received his Bar to the Long Service Award for 25 years of Adult Appointment. He was succeeded by Mr Brian Collins as Group Scout Leader.

There have been many hundreds of boys pass through the 80th and many of those have continued their Scouting as Leaders in the 80th and prominent leaders within Greenock District e.g. Mark McErlane, Barto Andrade, the late George Turley, Stephen McGrath and Robert Platt and John Black.

Camping has always been at the centre of 80th Scouting. The first summer camp was to Kilmaurs in 1958. Since then there have been many successful expeditions both home and abroad including Doune(’59), Kilmaurs(’61), Blairmore(’62), Ettrick Bay(’64), France(’73), Germany(’75) and Denmark(’77), London(’81,’82’86 & 87) & Austria(’89). Explorer Belts were also completed by Barto Andrade & Robert Platt (’74) and Peter Fletcher & Paul Hamill (’76). In 1995 five of our Scouts attended the 18th World Jamboree in Holland and in 2003 three of our Scouts and a Leader spent six weeks camping in Australia. This summer Anil Chundoo (80th S.L) will be an assistant Contingent Leader at the World Jamboree in England, also attending will be Graeme McClement, an 80th Scout.

The Scout section also competed internally for three Commemorative Trophies. The ‘St.Margarets Shield’, commemorating our origins, the ‘David Harbison Shield’, commemorating our first Scout Leader, and the ‘George Turley Cup’ which commemorated an extremely popular leader within the 80th and Greenock District who tragically died in a climbing accident.

In 1967, the Group rented the old Rankin Park Building at the very rear of the Rankin Park. This allowed us to operate throughout the week with games nights, meetings and fundraising events. Unfortunately the building became a target for vandals and a lot of tentage and equipment, including our Scout section flag, was lost in a fire. The building was later torn down under Health and Safety legislation.

In 1973 the Venture Scout Unit was formed and became the first mixed Unit in Inverclyde in 1977. In 1976 the Group participated in the ‘Scoutreach Project’ which eventually led to the opening of a second Scout Troop in St. Lawrences primary school in January 1979 and a second Cub Pack under the leadership of Marjory Collins on 1st September 1980.

In March 1983 the Beaver Scout section was created under the leadership of Yvonne McGurk. In 1994, the leadership was taken up by Norma Ramsay. Norma continued to be Beaver Leader and a Brownie Leader until 2004 when she was promoted to District Commissioner for Gourock Brownies.

In August 2004 the Group was joined by Bernard McGuinness as Group Scout Leader. Bernard had previously been an Assistant Scout Leader with the 73rd and then the Scout Leader of the 70th. In November 2006 he was presented with a ‘Medal of Merit’.

In August 2005, after consulting all the leaders and the boys in each section, ‘GIRLS’ were able to join all the sections before it became compulsory in January 2007. Miss Eve Cushnaghan became the first of many girls to enrol as a Beaver Scout. In December 2006 she gained her Chief Scout Bronze Award and became the first girl to be invested into the Cub section.

2008 sees the 50th Anniversary of the 80th Scout Group as it is known today. It promises to be another year of fun and celebration for the Leaders and sections. The section leaders, Anil Chundoo, Keira Wilson and Lorraine Stewart are already planning various outings and celebration camps. A small group of parents are also quietly planning some festivities for former members and friends of the 80th. Their first project, which is already underway, is fundraising to gift new Scout section colours to replace the flag that was lost in the fire.

Click on the image of the Registration Certificate to view a selection of photographs of the Group over the years.



Comment from james long
Time September 16, 2008 at 1:19 am

was a member of the 80th during the late seventies and eighties and would love to know about any reunions planned

Comment from amanda north
Time April 30, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I was thrilled to read this article, my mother was Miss Agnes Anderson – now Mrs Agnes Weir.

Comment from Robin Wilkin
Time April 22, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I was so proud to be a member of the 80th scouts,when we were winning every competition from going from “The Hardie Webster Trophy”for camping skills,up at Everton.To Ruling the swimming pool at the Hector McNeil Baths(Hecktor’s) and winning the 11 a side football competition every year.My personal proudest moment was being the first group to be presented with the “Chief Scout’s Challenge Award”.A Woggle.Fellow scouts with me were:-“Coja” Colin McEwan,Ian Cameron and “Shapey Baby with an E”Stuart Seath rip.Stuart and I remained friends after leaving the scouts until his premature death in the mid 1990s, Shape was one of the good guy’s as all my fellow scout’s during the early to mid 1980’s will agree.”Big Marko” Mark McKearlin was assistant to “The Skipper ADC Colin Carson who Enjoy’d a good rage” ave gotta laugh,sometimes he would be bright red in the face.It was alway’s just his way of installing our win,win attitudes 🙂 Billy McPherson from Lady Alice End and Paddy Burns,Brian Collins,Shuggy Collins,Chris Collins,Stevie Shaw,Donald Cambell,James Long,Mark Easdale.Alan McDonald,”PK”Paul Kerr and paul’s wee brother”MK”Mark Kerr.Forgive me if ave forgot your names but I still have vivid memories,built in videos of times enjoy’d up at Everton,Inverkip and in the hut beside Skipper’s caravan.Winning “The Hardie Webster Trophy” was another proud achievement for me,Stevie Shaw, Colin McEwan and another English boy” who was a great camp cook” were in the winning team.I personally won “District’s most camped that year also.You couldn’t keep me away from Everton and all that goes with the outdoors!! Those were some of the best day’s of my life back then in the years I spent in the 80th.I am 42 now !! How time flies.Anyone that want’s a bleather about those good day’s feel free too e-mail me back at ( or I am on Facebook All the best Brian Collins “Skipper” Robin ps You never know !!I might just pop in some night when I am through in Greenock as I moved to Edinburgh around 13 years ago!! Cheers guy’s and dolls.

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