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In 1973 Janet Symons and I started the first Cub pack in Witheridge. We were supported by a committee with Roy Cole as Chairman, Mr Stoddard treasurer and Lin Buckingham secretary. We met at first in the Church Room and started off with about 12 boys from Witheridge, but later with boys from Rackenford, Lapford and Worlington joining, we moved to the Parish Hall. We were part of the Crediton District, which included packs from Crediton, Okehampton, North Tawton, Bow, Sandford, Chulmleigh, Chagford and Tedburn St Mary. These were our opponents when we held Football, Athletics, Fun Days and a Swimming Gala, quizzes and other topical events. The St George's Day Parade was the highlight of the year, and it was always held at either Okehampton or Crediton on the Sunday nearest to St George's Day (April 23rd). A memorable day was in 1981 when deep snow at Witheridge and deeper at Okehampton meant the parade had to be cancelled.

At their weekly meetings the boys worked to gain badges for a number of crafts, gardening, woodwork, cooking, cycling, etc, and many in the village were enlisted to help in these achievements. By 1980 numbers had increased to 29, and a note in the minutes read "no more boys to be admitted - the maximum for 2 leaders is 24". Luckily at this time Margery Vanstone joined us as a trained uniformed scouter, which was wonderful for us, and for the boys.

The first Sunday of the month was always Church Parade, and we tried to have an activity after each service. We took the Moors walk north to Rackenford, south to Washford Pyne, and followed the Little Dart to Worlington. If wet we went to Tiverton Swimming Pool. Our favourite venue was Eggesford Forest, where the Forestry Commission allowed us to have our "Cub Wood". This we planted with tiny beech trees the size of pencils. We often went down to weed and tend our wood. This was planted in the scheme "Plant a tree in 73". Nine years later the council minutes read "7 beech are to be planted in Witheridge, 2 in East Close, 2 in Butts Close, 2 in Fore Street and 1 in Chapple Corner". These were originally planted by the Cub Scouts in Eggesford in 1973. Large trees now! Eggesford was a wonderful place with a very large tree that sheltered us from many a wet picnic - trees to climb and an old castle relic with the River Taw to get wet in as well.

Each pack took it in turns to provide a site for the annual district camp. One year in our turn we camped in Mr Manning's field by the river and another year we camped in Lady Stevens field at Worlington. We held gang shows at the Parish Hall with the Scouts, and often put a float in the Carnival, whilst for a number of years we organised bonfire celebrations to swell our funds. The cubs did some of their own fundraising, collecting a newspaper store at Witheridge Garage, and in those days "Bob a Job" was great fun. We were grateful to Mr Pate, who very successfully ran the 200 Club, and to Iris Webber for organising Whist Drives at Thelbridge, as well as our own fundraising committee with jumble sales, draws and bingos.

In 1983 Janet left us to become our District Commissioner, which was a great honour for the pack, but it left us short of a Leader again. However, in 1984 Tim Hyland joined us as Pack Leader. By this time the district had been renamed "Mid Devon District", with a new emblem, namely the Red Devon Bull, designed by Jenny Bidgood. Sadly in 1985, having reached retiring age, I left the pack in the capable hands of Tim and Margery, after 12 very happy years of scouting.

I think 1981 must have been our "Glory Year", when at the Swimming gala at Exeter with competition from 9 packs in the district we won the Swimming Shield, came first in the competition for the 1980 Scrapbook, and also won the prize for making a banner. The heading in the Tiverton Gazette read, "Witheridge Cubs Do The Hat Trick". Our crack swimming team then was Blue Ramsay, Paul Vanstone, Gwyndaff Edwards, Lawrence Filing, Richard Temple and Alistair Pratt.

The Wolf Cub Scouts, or Cubs as they are more commonly known, is a sub section of the Scouting movement for children between the ages of around 8-11. The section was founded by Robert Baden-Powell ), in 1930 ,with the intention of extending the scouting movement to younger children. The Cubs were originally open only to boys, and the Brownies were set up as a parallel section for young girls. This remains the situation in some places. Even where girls are admitted to the Cubs, in some places there are separate packs for boys and girls.

Cub scouts are organised in packs, which are usually linked to a scout group, providing a community with all the age-sections. Adult leaders of Cub packs take the names of The Jungle Book's main characters. Cub scouts have a distinctive two-fingers salute, in contrast to the three-finger salute of Boy Scouts.

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Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

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