Dynamic Clitheroe Scouting group honours the fallen by getting a taste of life in wartime Britain

This year's Remembrance celebrations were very subdued by usual standards, but it was wonderful to see young members of St Mary Magdalene's Scouting Group making the effort and refusing to let Covid-19 stop them honouring our veterans.

As always, this dynamic scouting troupe took their celebrations to another level!

In total, 24 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, along with five leaders and many family members, took part in a special remembrance event. The aim was to demonstrate respect for Remembrance Day and the veterans who have given so much for our country; they did so by recreating conditions which applied during the Second World War.

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Friday night saw them camping at home and in keeping with the theme, they had to research what a Morrison shelter was, construct their own version and then spend the night in it.

Remembering the fallen

Additionally, that evening they had to use the “family survival bag” they had been provided with to help prepare an authentic Second World War rationed meal of corned beef hash, followed by tinned fruit and carnation milk.

A special touch of authenticity was added to proceedings by Scout leader Paul Barker, who managed to play an air raid siren through to each of the participants homes. On hearing this they each had to scamper into their Morrison shelter. Parents agreed this was a fantastic idea, as they had never known their children to “go to bed” so quickly and without constant reminders! The only disappointment was when Paul played the all clear after five minutes!

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For the second stage, on Saturday, they had to initially deliver paper wreaths to the church for vicar, the Rev. Andy Froud, to display in the church grounds. Then following coordinates their leaders had provided, (using the What3words app), they had to find the grave of a local fallen hero and to honour that individual by laying a poppy at their grave. With over 60 graves identified locally, it was not feasible to visit and honour each one; but visiting 32 graves was a remarkable achievement.

Commenting on the event, Louise Sells, Assistant Scout Leader, said: “We have organised a lot of memorable and fun events over the last year, but I cannot think of any which have had such a fundamental impact on everybody involved. I have spoken to a number of the parents who were absolutely amazed at how many local men (and boys), gave their lives in the service of our country; they admitted they had no idea of the numbers!

“My own son was shocked on reading a gravestone. He was close to tears as he looked up at me and muttered, 'Mum, he was only 18; just seven and half years older than me!'

“Visiting the graves had a profound impact of everybody; so much so that a few of the troupe wanted to honour more veterans and since then have visited more graves to lay a poppy in their honour. At the last count we had honoured 40 veterans. Amazing!"

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She added: "Taking part in Clitheroe’s annual Remembrance Parade is special, but actually visiting individual graves made it so much more personal. You wonder how many of the graves have laid there cold and forgotten for many years; was the visit by our troupe the first they have had in decades?

“I think we will arrange to do something similar next year and may even try to expand it by asking other local scout and guide troupes to join us. How wonderful would it be if next year every grave locally was visited and honoured?"

In addition to all the activities, youngster Claire Humplebee indulged her love of art and crafting to produce a fantastic picture of Clitheroe’s War Memorial. Using a variety of different techniques – painting, transfers and stipple art – Claire spent hour-upon-hour producing her masterpiece.