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1st Cloughfern Scout Group

1st Cloughfern Scout Group appeared in South East Antrim District in 1953 not long
after the Church of the Ascension first opened its doors on its present site.
The first leaders were the Jim McCrum and Campbell McNeill. The Scouts would meet on a Tuesday night at 8.00pm.
Wolf Cubs started shortly before the Scouts on Friday nights in the Fernagh Community Hall
with the first leaders being Mrs. Scott and Rae Laine. Over the early years the Church was used as a meeting hall until the first hall was
built behind it and all the organisations and clubs in the church moved into this. The Troop in the early years had there summer camps in various locations around Northern Ireland
including Ballywalter and then Lough Neagh. Then in 1966 we made our first trip abroad to Luxembourg
this was followed a few years later with trips to Italy in the Troop mini bus. The bus had been acquired
and also took us camping to various sites in England and Scotland.

One in particular I remember and so does Geoff was in 1968 when we went to Kingsdown Scout Camp between Dover and Deal.
It was situated on top of the cliffs and my abiding memory is the rain in July it was the wettest July in years in Kent.
We again used our trusty minibus and arrived after dark to pitch our tents and retire to be awakened about an hour later
with the Royal Marines carrying out a night time beach assault on the there training grounds below us.
On that trip we also had a few nights at Gilwell and visited BP House in London. The Scouts have continued and gone from strength to strength with numerous wins in the District Flag competition,
First aid competition and 5-a-sides. The Scouts also have had a number of Queen s Scouts over the years.
They have also attended all the Scout Camps organised between our Scout association and our counterparts in the South. The Cubs have also flourished and also over the years been successful in various District Competitions
with a number of wins including the Sports Shield, Tug-of-War, and this year in the District Quiz where
we went on to finish in the top three at County and Northern Ireland. The Cubs also won in the early years
of its conception the Northern Ireland S-a-side competition at Crawfordsburn. In the seventies the Cubs had there first weekend camps at Crawfordsburn.

After a break the Cubs then started to attend all the District run Camps at
Carnfunnock, Crawfordsburn and Shanes Castle. The Cubs also support the District
in many of the events run by the District giving the Cubs an opportunity to mix with others in the District.

Cloughfern also had a Venture unit for a few years in the eighfjes run by Alison Gill.
Beavers appeared in the Group in 1970s with Margaret Gourley as Leader
and they have run successfully since apart from a brief period when we could
not find leaders but this was remedied with the arrival of Linda Cherry and her
faithful band of assistants and now we have a very successful Beaver Colony feeding Beavers
into the Cubs and ultimately into the Scouts.
1st Cloughfern now are looking to a bright future and into the second century of Scouting
with a very positive attitude and very dedicated leader team.

David Garland

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