Cub Scouts celebrate 100 years of adventures in Edinburgh

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Gathered in the morning light on the Castle Esplanade yesterday were more than 50 excited young adventurers who renewed their Cub Scout Promise together 100 years from when the section was launched.

And notable former Cubs from the Capital delved into their adventurous pasts to reminisce and celebrate the association’s milestone.

Cubs took their bob-a-job Operation Shoe-Shine to Redford barracks in March 1972. Unidentified cub scout polishing the boots of a soldier.

Cubs took their bob-a-job Operation Shoe-Shine to Redford barracks in March 1972. Unidentified cub scout polishing the boots of a soldier.

Broadcaster and pantomime star Grant Stott said he has many fond memories of his time at the 19th Craiglockhart and his mum treasured a cutting from his first appearance in the Evening News.

He said: “I remember getting to fly on my first ever trip to London and meet up with other Cubs for the day.

“It was around 1974-75 and I remember being at the back of the queue for getting our photograph taken. Then the photographer turned the group around so I ended up right at the front of the photo!

“So that was my first trip to London and the first time I appeared in the Evening News, all thanks to the Cubs.”

Cubs took their bob-a-job Operation Shoe-Shine to Redford barracks in March 1972. Picture: TSPL

Cubs took their bob-a-job Operation Shoe-Shine to Redford barracks in March 1972. Picture: TSPL

Jeremy Balfour, MSP, joined the Cub pack at the Castle and to renew his Promise 42 years after he first made it.

He said: “I am still friends with some of the people I met at the 6th Waverley section when I was seven, and have memories of enjoying camps in North Berwick, playing outside and making fires.

“The Cub Scouts is a very important, outward-looking organisation and teaches children to work together and think not only of themselves but of the communities that they live in. It is a positive for young people to learn, enjoy and consider others.”

The Cubs Promise Parties and renewals are the culmination in a year of celebrations and will kick start the next 100 years of the Cub Scouts. Cubs also gathered at the Ross Bandstand at 7.16pm or 19.16 – the year the Cubs began.

Scouts and cubs backstage at the King's theatre in Edinburgh for a Gang Show costume fitting in November 1984. Picture: TSPL

Scouts and cubs backstage at the King's theatre in Edinburgh for a Gang Show costume fitting in November 1984. Picture: TSPL

“What a fabulous turn out we had,” said Barry Donald-Hewitt, depute chief commissioner and life-long member of the Scouting Association. “Promise parties are taking place all over Edinburgh and the Lothians to celebrate the adventure they’re having.”

Barry, who started out as a Cub in 1988, said the organisation is the fastest-growing section of the Scouting Association and, in Edinburgh, there are more children wanting to be Cubs than there are pack places for them.

“We are missing adult helpers and are always on the look out for volunteers, even flexible volunteers,” Barry said. “A significant number of the Edinburgh Cub packs have waiting lists.”

Barry, who is professionally the principal teacher for outdoor learning at Edinburgh City Council, puts the continued popularity of Cubs down to its fully inclusive ethos and the emphasis on fun and adventure.

Edinburgh Waverley district Cub Scouts with old newspapers for their 'paper chase' in June 1974. Picture: TSPL

Edinburgh Waverley district Cub Scouts with old newspapers for their 'paper chase' in June 1974. Picture: TSPL

“Those with religion, those without, boys and girls are welcome and we continually focus on creating and enjoying the adventure,” Barry explained.

To find out about volunteering, call 0845 300 1818.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk