Southwick Scout group celebrates HQ’s 40th birthday

The current Scout troop in Comber Hall
The current Scout troop in Comber Hall

CALLING all 2nd Southwick Scouts!

This year marks the 40th birthday of 2nd Southwick Scout Group’s headquarters, in Upper Kingston Lane, and members are marking the occasion with a birthday party and reunion on Saturday, May 11.

Any former Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, Ventures, leaders, committee members and parents are invited to go along to remember and celebrate 40 years of fun.

Named Comber Hall, after Philip Comber, the former group Scout leader, architect and driving force behind its building, the headquarters is tucked away at the top of a grass-covered track near the Quayside Youth Centre.

Passers-by may not even know of its existence.

But is has been the group’s home now for four decades and, in that time, almost 1,000 local children have passed through as members.

Until 1968, 2nd Southwick Scout Group had been sponsored by the All Souls Church in Downsway and had used its hall for meetings.

However, the group decided it needed its own headquarters and Southwick Urban District Council allocated a small plot of land at the back of the Quayside playing fields.

The new group council, formed from parents and leaders, began fund-raising and aimed to raise approximately £50 from each event.

In 1970, the group purchased a large wooden shed from a factory in Crawley, for £350, and began preparing the plot of land by levelling and digging foundations.

Under the guidance of Mr Comber,, the wooden hut was erected in April 1971. It then took a further two years to finally finish the building with electrics, plumbing and decorating, as this was all done by volunteers at weekends.

In the early 1980s, the hut was extended to the western end to give two extra rooms, now used as an office and the Quartermaster’s Stores.

Last year, the group embarked on a major fund-raising drive to pay for new roofing felt, and to install insulation bought with money granted by Adur District Council’s Pot of Gold scheme. The original roofing felt had lasted for almost 40 years!

This was completed last summer of 2012, but it has now been found the main hall floor is rotten and must be completely replaced. So, further fund-raising is needed.

Also wanted is a new Beaver leader, as Jane Hardy will be hanging up her uniform in June after five years in charge of the colony, the youngest Scout section, for ages six to eight years.

There is a thriving Beaver colony with parents willing to help out, but they need someone to take over as leader. Full training will be given.

If you have been involved in 2nd Southwick Scout Group any time since it started in the 1950s, if you think you can help with fund-raising or renovation of the HQ, or you know a candidate for Beaver Leader, please email enquiries@secondsouthwick.org.uk. Visit www.secondsouthwick.org.uk or find the group on Facebook under “Comber Hall” for more information.