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Tale of a glorious group...

PUBLISHED: 09:25 04 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:11 02 July 2010

Troop line-up: Left, CEYMS Troop, to whom the 1st Norwich were attached in 1909.

Troop line-up: Left, CEYMS Troop, to whom the 1st Norwich were attached in 1909.

Derek James

One frosty morning in January 1908, two boys at Norwich School bumped into each other in the quadrangle and noticed they were both looking at the same piece of paper…it was a pamphlet by Lt Gen Robert Baden-Powell, the first fortnightly part of Scouting for Boys.

Derek James

One frosty morning in January 1908, two boys at Norwich School bumped into each other in the quadrangle and noticed they were both looking at the same piece of paper…it was a pamphlet by Lt Gen Robert Baden-Powell, the first fortnightly part of Scouting for Boys.

Edward Coe and Lawrence Glover were late for morning prayers so they had no more time for chat but they were determined young men now inspired to set up their own boy scout patrol. They did just that and called it Lion Patrol.

Four other boys joined up and they met at Cliff House where Lawrence lived. His father was manager of the Gas Works. The Glovers gave the boys support and encouragement and allowed them to use the copse in the ground of which skipper Coe described as a “scout's paradise.”

And their activities laid down the foundation stones for what is now one of the oldest groups of its kind anywhere in the world - The 1st Norwich Sea Scouts, an organisation which has played a leading part in tens of thousands of young lives over the last century.

The story of how this group came about the role it has played in Norfolk life is one worth telling and now it has been…is in a glorious book called It Can Be Done which is littered with photographs and memories bringing the story alive.

It has been researched and written by Jane Stafford and Rhonda Pike who both deserve a round of applause for putting this history together. Jane has spent the last four years delving through the history of the group and all her hard work with Rhonda has now paid off.

The book is a grand tribute to an organisation which has, and still is, helping to shape so many young lives - both boys and girls -in a very different world to the one those young Lions Edward and Lawrence lived in.

County Commissioner, Richard Butler, said: “The pages tell of the growth and development of the group and the main players along the way. The main adventures they have undertaken and the part they have played in the lives of the young people and their leaders.”

And he adds: “I congratulate all involved in this great achievement and wish you all well as you move into the second century of serving the young people of Norwich.

“The 1st have grown into a modern scout group serving local children. They have kept up with the changes to the movement and they ensure that scouting is still as relevant today as it was on January 15 1908 when those two schoolboys met and without knowing it started a long story and one that is still being told today,” said Mr Butler.

Besides being the oldest group in Norwich, it is one of the oldest in the world with more than a century of continuous scouting. Today it has around 100 members, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers also with a team of leaders. Its motto “It Can be Done” has been proved time and time again and it is fitting this should be the name of the book.

Tomorrow I'll tell you how these boys became men with the start of the First World War and the role they played in defending Norfolk.

It Can Be Done: The Hundred Year History of the 1st Norwich Sea Scout Group, is on sale at Jarrold and at The Trading Post, the Alec Bussey Centre, Rowington Road, Norwich. Tel: 01603 619194, priced at £20.

By post it costs £24.15 to include p&p and will be sent by dispatched registered post. Visit www.firststnorwichseascouts.co.uk or sent a cheque payable to 1st Norwich Scout Group at 9 Badger Close, Mulbarton, Norwich NR14 8NT.

It is large 144-page book featuring hundreds of photographs.

Did You Know?

On this day in 1493 Christopher Columbus sailed from America to Spain in the Nina.

On this day in 1936 Billboard magazine in New York published the first popular music chart.

On this day in 1967 Donald Campbell died attempting to break the world water speed record on Coniston Water in the Lake District.

On this day in 1972 Rose Heilbron became Britain's first women judge at the Old Bailey.

Did You Know Norwich?

The grim Workhouse of the City - a place where no-one wanted to end up, once stood in the Lower Close. It was demolished in 1804 to improve the entrance to the Deanery.

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