History of the Wivenhoe Scout & Guide Association
In 1958, a Committee of Leaders and parents was formed with the aim of raising sufficient money to build a headquarters for the Scouts and Guides of Wivenhoe. Mr William Cracknell was elected Chairman of that Committee.
A plot of land lying behind the Council offices was sold to the Committee in 1959 for �30 by Mr Arthur Worthington.
By 1964, the Headquarters Committee had raised over �1,900 through fetes, jumble sales and other fund-raising events. Work on the building was started early in that year. Some materials were donated, like the metal girders for the original flat roof which came from J. Cook�s, the shipbuilders in Wivenhoe.
The Hall was opened on the 10th April 1965. Surplus money was retained in a central fund to be used for maintenance. At this stage, each Group meeting in the Hall had its own Committee of Leaders and parents, each raising its own funds for equipment.
In 1968, it was suggested that all Groups and Committees should join to together with the Headquarters Committee to form one Association for management and fund-raising. A Steering Committee was formed to work out a constitution and the present Wivenhoe Scout & Guide Association was born on 16th January 1969.
By 1979, it was clear that the Hall was not big enough to meet the needs of all the Units and a planning application was submitted for an extension to the building, comprising a single room, and fund-raising begun in earnest.
Further growth in numbers meant that plans were later revised in favour of doubling the size of the Hall, enlarging the kitchen, making a proper lobby, more than doubling the size of the Quartermaster�s store and capping the whole building with a pitched roof to replace the previous flat one.
Footings for this major project were dug in September 1987 and five years later, after hundreds of hours of volunteer help and �30,000 spent on materials, the new Hall was opened.
The founder Chairman in 1958 was Mr William Cracknell whose name is remembered by calling one of the Cub packs after him. Another leading light amongst those people in the 1950s and until her death in 1995, was Mrs Ruth Munson who started Guiding in Wivenhoe. Her name is remembered by the Association when it called the new room in the extended building after her.
Today, the Wivenhoe Scout & Guide Association comprises 11 units of Rainbow Guides, Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. In all, some 200 youngsters and 45 adults as Leaders, Assistant Leaders, Unit Helpers, Committee Members and other lay helpers.
The Hall too is used by more than just the uniformed sections. During the daytime it has become home to three art classes, a singing group, three dancing groups, a yoga class, a Mother and Toddler group and the Wivenhoe DofE Centre for people wanting to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award programme.
If only Mr Cracknell, Mrs Munson and all the other people who helped raise that initial �1,900 to build the first hall could see it now.
The old Hall with the extension under way � 1988
Main construction team: Barry Cook; Peter Hill; Richard Martin; Malcolm Smith
Other volunteers: Colin Batchelor; Malcolm Burren; Ian Coventry; Alan Dobson; John Humphrey;
George Lowndes; Rod Murray; John Sallows; Paul Stockwell; Alan Theobald
Mrs Ruth Munson leading Wivenhoe Guides out of St Mary’s Church (circa late 1950s)