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Margaret Williams wrote in The Adviser, 22nd February 2009:

February 22nd is known as 'Thinking Day' in Guiding circles - the day when Girl Guides all over the world remember their Guide promise.

Recently I found an old photograph taken on an occasion celebrating an anniversary of Guiding in Hungerford.

It brought back many memories of times spent on Guiding activities, from Brownie days to becoming a Ranger Guide.

Today there is a sad shortage of leaders to run units. We were very fortunate when young, that there were people willing to help.

The Guide Captain in the 1930's was Mrs Rogers, the wife of the local Police Inspector; her Lieutenant was Miss Gwen Nicol, whose sister Margaret was Brown Owl.

We had a very happy Brownie pack, some will remember Brownie Revel picnics, with games and competitions, there were weekly meetings and many proficiency badges to win.

Many Brownies had armfuls of badges. I remember when we made our enrollment promise, we touched our fingers to the pack mushroom and said that we would "lend a hand and play the game."

Concerts were something we enjoyed doing, perhaps as a princess or as a Christopher Robin character.

After Brownies we "flew up" to Guides, where there was more fun, as well as much to learn. As it was wartime, camping was restricted, we could only camp locally, but it was still enjoyable, sometimes the first time some had stayed away from home.

One memorable event at a camp was when an American Officer billeted locally brought a large carton of delicious ice cream, something we just hadn't had during the war.

There were Church Parades often when it was one of the fund raising weeks like "War Weapons" week. During the summer of 1944, Scouts from London came to work in the harvest fields and Guides were involved in cooking their meals. I am sure we were keen but also needed much guidance.

A concert together with the local Scout Troop was a great cooperative event and rehearsals were great fun and all would still remember, "We are riding along on the crest of the waves". Unfortunately it never came to fruition as the end of the war happened and the Scouter producer returned to London.

Now girls and boys can belong to the same unit and I hope that they get as much pleasure and knowledge, to give them a good basis of how to become good citizens.

A short paper was produced in 1985 by "Ex-guiders", outlining the history of the Girl Guides in Hungerford:

"GIRL GUIDES' 75TH ANNIVERSARY                            
This year the Guide Movement is celebrating the anniversary of its 75th year and the Hungerford Guide Unit is making a kneeler for St.Lawrence's church to commemorate the event.
The 1st Hungerford Unit is one of the third oldest in Berkshire and has been running continuously for 68 years, having been registered in 1917. The 1st Hungerford Brownie Pack was formed 2 years later and has also run without a break since 1919.

Hungerford Guide Company was started by Mrs.Gray wife of a former vicar. Miss Rene Hunt, who now lives in Fairfields, was one of the original Guides and Mrs. Elsie Smith & Miss Freda Rosier were also very early members of the Movement. The Misses Marjorie & Geraldine Platt, whose family home was at the Priory, gave the girls a most excellent training   
and their sister, Miss Dolly Platt, ran the Brownies. The Platt sisters also started camping for the Guides and this was a feature of the Hungerford Guides' summer for well over 50 years. Many members of the Unit have taken their training to different parts of the country and abroad and several 'old' Hungerford Guides and Brownies are now running, or
helping to run, other Units in different parts of the country.

Among the earlier Guiders were Mrs. McCubbin (who still lives locally), Mrs. Gresham-Cooke, Miss Powell and, later, Mrs. Rogers - the wife of Hungerford's Police Inspector. The Misses Margaret & Gwen Nicol, so well known to us all, served in different spheres within the Guide Movement over a period of many years and ran camps that must be remembered well by readers of 'The Bridge'. Their work was carried on very ably by Mrs. Gill Newcombe and both Mrs. Newcombe and the Misses Nicol were helped and supported by other Guiders, most of whom had been members of their own units.

Over the years, there have been 4 Ranger Guide Units in the town and many memories must exist of the big London parades which were held after the war and at which Hungerford Rangers were present. One funny incident remembered by the writers was the column of steam marching past Buckingham Palace after heavy rain had soaked the girls. They were all wearing battle-dress blouses which had been dyed navy-blue and the dye ran on to the grey blouses which the girls wore beneath the battle-blouses. Many uniforms never recovered from this outing: On the same weekends as the parades, rallies were held in either the Royal Albert Hall or at the White City Stadium and guest on various occasions included Her Majesty The Queen. (Then Princess Elizabeth), Princess Margaret, The Princess Royal, and Lady Olave Baden-Powell. They were, indeed, Great Occasions.

These national events were followed over the years by many County Rallies and County Days held at dindsor, the Reading Parks and, in later years, at Newbury Race-course. This year the County celebration is being held at the Shaw Showground on 29th June.

Among other notable events have been the winning, after intense competition, of the County Cup by the Hungerford Guides in the 1950's and the part played by the Unit in transporting a scroll for the queen right across the District with different means of transport - including a pony ride through the town by Guide Monica Smith. Members of the
Unit have also attended services in Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral and St. Georges Chapel, Windsor, on various national county occasions.

Today we are all very grateful for the work done in the present Unit  by Mrs. Margaret Wilson, Mrs. Pat Caldwell and Dr. Sally James. Thanks are also due to the Brownie Guiders in the 2 Hungerford Packs. We know that many ex-guides, brownies and rangers are also grateful for the training and experience gained through their membership of the Guide
Movement and the Hungerford branch in particular. We also know that they would like to join us in wishing both Packs and Company a very happy 75th birthday and a very good Guiding year."

Photo Gallery:

1938ish girl guides
1938ish girl guides

Hungerford Girl Guides "Coming of Age" - possibly 1938?

girl guides-01 1917
girl guides-01 1917

1st Hungerford Coy Girl Guides, 1917 (Possibly in St Lawrence's churchyard) [Parsons]

- 1st Hungerford Coy Girl Guides, 1917 (Possibly in St Lawrence's churchyard) [Parsons]

- Hungerford Girl Guides "Coming of Age" - possibly 1938?

See also:

- Guiding in Berkshire by Pam Haseltine [HHA Archives S11]