7th Huddersfield Clayton West Scouts (Heritage Article)
The current Clayton West Scout Group was first registered on the 2nd September 1976 with 18 Cubs and 10 Scouts. The Group met at Kayes First and Nursery School at the top of the village. The founding Leaders were John Swannick, as GSL, with a Robert Leake as ASL, and Maureen Swannick as an ASL. The Cub Leaders were Barrie and Gillian Tiffany.
The Group later leased land at Wakefield Road, a former coal yard for the now closed branch railway which terminated at Clayton West. The hall was acquired from Almondbury Scouts who had the good fortune to have raised funds for a new brick-built Scout HQ – perhaps the best Scout HQ in the District. Their old hall, a Utility building, very similar to those used by the military during WW2, was dismantled in sections and transported to Clayton West where it was rebuilt with an added toilet block by local volunteers.
The early years of the Group were reasonably well documented in a scrapbook kept by John Swannick but as with most things the upkeep of the scrapbook slipped once the Group became established.
John and Maureen Swannick remained with the Group until the mid-1990′s when they both retired, as did Barrie Tiffany. There was by now a Beaver Colony and the BSL role was taken on as a temporary stopgap by the then Group secretary, Gillian Renshaw. Gillian’s stopgap lasted for some 15 years.
There was some flux in the Leadership of the Cubs and Scouts and the role of GSL was filled temporarily. In 1994-5 Ewan Scott came as SL with his wife Fiona as ASL. The then DC made Ewan Scott the Scouter in Charge, which developed into the GSL Role.
Maria Glover joined as Secretary, but quickly took on an ACSL role, with Sheila Brown around 1997.
The Group has since grown a pool of activity instructors and resources, and has the beginnings of a new generation of Leaders who have come up through the Scout Group.
The result is clearly seen in the range of activities covered by this website.
Over the years the group has mutated and in the late 1990′s the Venture Scout unit was formed, drawing members from a wide area before the PRG which saw Clayton West Chupacabra Explorers born out of the Ventures.
The Explorer’s relationship with the Group has been very close, the ESL having a free run of Group facilities in return for their ongoing support of the Group. In 2006 the Explorers completely repainted the interior of the hall – which was looking very drab after 30 years of use.
In recent years the Group has increased numbers and opened new sections to cope with the demand from young people in the area. We have also become the Scout Group for the whole of the Upper Dearne Valley, especially since the closure of Denby Dale Scouts through lack of adult support. Denby Dale represents almost 50 per cent of the Group’s membership today.
In May and June 2014, Ewan and Fiona Scott resigned, quickly followed by a range of adult supporters.
There is talk of the Group continuing but the nature of the Group will naturally change. The team running the activities for the past 20 years has transferred to open the new 1st Upper Dearne Valley Navigators.