Ypres, Belgium. July 2016

Belgium 2016

The 3rd Squirrel’s Heath Scouts and Zenith Explorers have just returned from yet another successful trip abroad, this time to the town of Ypres in Belgium. After our visit to Normandy last year, this trip had a lot to live up to and it didn’t disappoint. The Scouts and Explorers cycled an amazing 205 miles whilst exploring the region of West Flanders, taking advantage of the many beautiful cycling routes to be found there.

Despite having to get up extra early in order to avoid the queues at Dover, we tackled our first day with gusto, navigating the tricky waters of the port with ease and cycling a further 30 miles after arriving at Dunkirk in the early afternoon, battling the heat all the way. We reached the Belgian border that night and settled in our first campsite of the trip to cook our evening meal.

On the second day we reached our main campsite in Kemmel, a village outside of Ypres, called Camping Ypra, after visiting the Flanders Museum in the Ypres Cloth Hall. This gave us a taster of the week to come, as we learned about the three battles of Ypres in WW1. As if cycling wasn’t tiring enough, we decided to climb to the top of the Bell Tower to enjoy fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. Then it was on to our base camp for the week. The short but steep ascent up to the campsite was met with the battle cry of ‘I thought Belgium was supposed to be flat!’, but was conquered nevertheless.

So began our epic adventure cycling to and fro from Ypres, in order to find out a little more about WW1 and also to experience all this truly beautiful town had to offer. We danced the Irish jig at an open air concert, made clay pots at Stefan’s Pottery and tried our best to escape from a locked house in the Longest Hour by solving puzzles, with one team succeeding and claiming victor’s rights the rest of the trip. We’ll have to return to Belgium in a few years to see our contributions to the ‘ComingWorldRememberMe’ art project as we each made a clay statue to represent one of the soldiers who died in the war.  A highlight of the week was when we tried our hands at making chocolate, though it’s questionable how much of the chocolate survived production and made it to the finished project!

Following the Ypres Salient Trail around some of the major battlefields of WW1, we also visited Hill 60 and Hill 62, where we learnt the history about some of the biggest battles. The most daring of us ventured deep into the trenches at Sanctuary Wood, crawling through pitch black tunnels in order to find out what it would have been like for the soldiers who fought there. Our experiences here were made particularly poignant by our visits to Essex Farm Cemetery and Tyne Cot, where we paid our respects by laying a wreath. But our biggest battle was trying to rescue a Scout’s shoe from a terrible fate in a mud filled crater!

It was an incredible honour for our Scouts and Explorers to participate in the Menin Gate Ceremony on Thursday 28th July. Listening to the Last Post, whilst standing in that amazing memorial, holding the Union flag and looking out at our incredibly smart Scouts and Explorers, was one of the proudest moments of my life. For everyone involved, it was an emotional and unforgettable event.

We hope Belgium won’t forget us, because we certainly will not forget this trip. Even with the trials of camp life in the countryside – being chased up country lanes by tractors for example, or slaving away over the washing up, or the never ending quest for tea bags – there is no doubt that we all had a great time. Thanks very much to our fantastic Leadership Team, brilliant Support Crew and enthusiastic parents for making this trip so special and well done to all the courageous Scouts and Explorers who took part.

Rebecca Hawkins

Zenith Explorers Romford & District

CSA November 2015 – Role of Honour

Congratulations to all our Chief Scout Award Achievers!

Bronze Award:

  • Taylor-Ali Ahmad – 6th Squirrels Heath
  • Scarlett Anderson -2nd East London
  • William Ashead – 18th EFS
  • Sonny Beckley – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Oliver Bevan – 2nd Romford
  • Finn Bixby – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Thomas Boltwood – 18th EFS
  • Sonny Branch – 43rd Epping Forest South
  • Raphael Branston – 6th Squirrels Heath
  • Jimi Braund – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • James Burgess – 19th EFS
  • Dominic Chan – 21 EFS
  • Ella Chapman – 3rd Gidea Park Penguins
  • Joshua Charnock – 18th EFS
  • Joe Cheek – 1st Highams Park
  • Joseph Chilton – 8th Newham (Beckton)
  • Dara Coll – 21st EFS
  • Finn Comley – 2nd East London
  • Ethan Cope – 21st Romford
  • Theo Cowell – 43rd Epping Forest South
  • Antonio Crivello-Jones – 3rd Gidea Park Penguins
  • Max Doyle – 2nd East London
  • Liam Drury – 21st Romford
  • George Evans – 3rd Walthamstow
  • Hollie Filbert – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Grace Gardiner – 10th/18th B&D
  • Jack Gibson – B&D
  • Oliver Hall – 1st Highams Park
  • Harry Harris – 18th EFS
  • Zach Hebditch – 37th Chingford Scout Group
  • Henry Hill – 2nd East London
  • Harrison Hunn – 2nd Collier Row
  • Theo Ilenotuma – 3rd Walthamstow
  • Ryan Jones – 2nd Romford
  • Samuel Jopling – 18th EFS
  • Caleb Judd – 21st Romford
  • Nathanael Judd – 21st Romford
  • Vincent Karthaus – 3rd Walthamstow
  • Kirtam Kaur – 2nd Chadwell Heath
  • Chloe  Keegan – 3rd Gidea Park Penguins
  • Vinnie  Kidner – 21st Romford
  • Maxwell Lablanchy – 10th Leyton
  • Bobby Lang – 8th Hornchurch
  • Skye List – 10th/18th B&D
  • Alfie Lyons – 2nd Collier Row
  • George Macey – 8th Hornchurch St Andrews Beavers
  • Bonnie Macmillan Griffiths – 7th Walthamstow
  • Tyler Madarasz – 14th Hackney
  • Ruby Martin – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Peter Mcdermott – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Kirsten Mcnaughton – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Freddy Mcquarrie – 37th Chingford Scout Group
  • Daniel Mendonca – 12th Barking And Dagenham
  • Joshua Neal – 2nd Collier Row
  • Jeremiah Oham – 27th Chingford Scout Group
  • Jacob Owsley – 3rd Harold Hill
  • Luke Passmore – 18th EFS
  • Matthew Patterson – 52nd EFS
  • Max Pengelly – 6th Squirrels Heath
  • Ruby Port – 21st Romford
  • Ibrahim Rehman – 18 EFS
  • Abdur Rahman Sattar – 7th Goodmayes
  • Sean Scollan – 52nd EFS
  • Levi-Blue Scott – 1st Highams Park
  • Harry Shah – 37th Chingford Scout Group
  • Ashton Sharpe – 27th Chingford Scout Group
  • Tahlia Sinclair – 3rd Gidea Park Penguins
  • Dhiyan Solanki – 2nd Ilford North
  • Methushan Sriramanan – 2nd Ilford North
  • Jack Stemp – 2nd Havering
  • Freddie Strang – 2nd Upminster Scout Group
  • Max Strang – 2nd Upmnster Scout Group
  • Esther Summers – 3rd Walthamstow
  • Rahul Suneja – 19th EFS
  • Naomi – Tesema – 8th Newham (Beckton)
  • Zachary Thomas – 21st Romford
  • Harry Turner – 2nd Upminster St Laurence Scout Group
  • Archie Tyler – 2nd Havering
  • Juno Winfield-Gummer – 52nd EFS
  • Sumayah Zaheer – 7th Goodmayes

Silver Award: 

  • Tamilore Adebisi – 4th Collier Row
  • Maryam Ali – 7th Goodmayes
  • Samuel Allam – 19th Epping Forest South
  • Nathan  Arnold – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Matthew Ashton – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Alfie Atkinson – 4th Collier Row
  • Sam Backham – 3rd Upminster Scout Group
  • Dovydas Beiga – 6th B&D
  • Jago Biddick – 19th Epping Forest South Scout Group
  • Joshua Blake – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Adam Braganza – 4th Collier Row
  • Elliot Collins – 5th Walthamstow Cubs
  • Mia Connell – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Alicia Corbett Cumberbatch – 32nd Chingford
  • Adam Court – 23rd Chingford
  • Taylor Daly – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Fred Davies – 19th Epping Forest South
  • Keane De Beer – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Aaron Dennison – 1st Romford
  • Honor Dixon – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • George  Dunmore – 8th Ilford North (St. Augustines)
  • Ikem Enebeli – 18th EFS
  • Tia Evans – 21st Romford
  • Tyler Evans – 21st Romford
  • Oliver Falola – 19th EFS
  • Frankie Fealty – 4th Collier Row
  • Aimie Field – 23rd Chingford
  • Rowan Fitzmaurice – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Thomas Gardiner – 10th/18th
  • Gemma Gibson – 10th/18th B&D
  • Sam Giles – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Peter Goss – 2nd Elm Park
  • Tyler-Jay Hales – 8th Hornchurch Mercury Cubs
  • Benjamin Halliday – 19th Epping Forest South
  • Matthew Harvey – 36th Epping Forest South Sea Scout Group
  • Jack Hawes – 18th EFS
  • James Hitching – 36th Epping Forest South Sea Scout Group
  • Casey  Hudson – 2nd Squirrels Heath Scout Group
  • Safiyah Hussain – 7th Goodmayes
  • Hamzah Ismail – 7th Goodmayes
  • Adam Joiner – 18th EFS
  • Aarian Judge – 4th (Bancroft’s School)
  • Yusuf Karim – 7th Goodmayes
  • Alexander Keefe – 19th Epping Forest South
  • Devin Killoran – 32nd Chingford
  • Isaac  King – 19th Epping Forest South Scout Group
  • Jack Lubel – 7th Walthamstow
  • Jenin Marjanayagam – 4th (Bancroft’s School) EFS
  • Azim Najabat- -18th EFS
  • Siena Nassim – 32nd Chingford
  • Harrison Newland – 23rd Chingford
  • Aiden Nip – 19th Epping Forest South
  • Christopher Owuman-Mensah – 4th Collier Row
  • Alfie Page – 21st Walthamstow
  • Scott Panton – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Jaiden  Parmar – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Safwaan  Rafique – 7th Goodmayes
  • Owen Roberts – 18th EFS
  • Tiago Santos – 19th Epping Forest South
  • Hafsa  Sattar – 7th Goodmayes
  • Eleanor Savine – 2nd Elm Park
  • Rosie Savvas – 10th/18th B&D
  • Shiv Sedha – 8th Hornchurch Mercury Cubs
  • Oliver Shead – 3rd Upminster Scout Group
  • Christopher Skillman – 2nd Elm Park
  • Joshua Small – 1st Hainault
  • James  Smart  – 8th Ilford North (St. Augustines)
  • Toma Spanec – 32nd Chingford
  • Ethan Spicer – 4th Collier Row
  • Harry Taylor – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Eddie Terlevich – 21st Walthamstow
  • Kian Terry – 19th Epping Forest South Scout Group
  • Connor Thompson – 36th Epping Forest South Sea Scout Group
  • Wilf Tooth Chaparro – 19th EFS
  • Jennifer  Towler – 2nd Squirrels Heath Scout Group
  • Erin Travis – 23rd Chingford
  • Anna Uings – 21st Romford
  • Frederick Veares – 3rd Upminster Scout Group
  • Katie Watkins – 2nd Elm Park
  • Joshua Welton – 8th Hornchurch Mercury Cubs
  • Josh White – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Sophie Whybrow – 23rd Chingford
  • Saaim Yusuf – 8th Ilford North (St. Augustines)
  • Zaynah  Zaheer – 7th Goodmayes

Gold Award:

  • Zainab Ahmed – 7th Goodmayes
  • James Baker – 7th Walthamstow
  • David Baxter – 1st Highams Park
  • Annie Brown – 7th Walthamstow
  • Thomas Critchell – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Hollie Cummins – 6th Barking And Dagenham Scout Group
  • Jordan Daly – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Rebecca Elsey – 7th Walthamstow
  • Brandon Filbert – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Lucas Hern – 7th Walthamstow
  • Cameron Hodsoll – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Jack Hudson – 1st Hainault
  • Emaan Hussain – 7th Goodmayes
  • Hayden Isbitt – 1st Hainault
  • Sara Jugon – 7th Goodmayes
  • Ayesha Karim – 7th Goodmayes
  • Callum Kelland – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Katherine Kinson – 7th Walthamstow
  • Theodore Krause – 36th Efs
  • Archie Mcewan – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Jack Mcgregor-Faherty – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Caitlin Mcnaughton – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Sinead Menekse – 10th Leyton Scout Group
  • Zahra Mirza – 7th Goodmayes
  • Che Mitchell – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Benjamin Morante – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Eleanor Morgan – 1st Hainault
  • Lauren Paku – 2nd East London Scout Group
  • Max Pearce – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Alice Rainbow – 7th Walthamstow
  • Henry Sands-Grant – 19th Efs
  • Pedro Santos – 19th Efs
  • Nathan Street – 7th Hornchurch
  • Jake Summerhayes – 7th Walthamstow
  • Lily Summerhayes – 7th Walthamstow
  • Mitchell Sutton – 2nd Romford
  • Jessica Taffs – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Jack Tape – 3rd Gidea Park
  • Michelle Thomas – 1st Barking & Dagenham
  • Amelia White – 3rd Squirrels Heath
  • Scarlett Williams – 7th Walthamstow


Diamond Award:

  • Sani Ali – 7th Goodmayes

Platinum Award:

  • Jessica Tiley – Newham – (Busby) Esu


Romford Scouts Walk for Paul!

12108970_977266575648987_2496997301239402278_nWell done to all the 300 plus Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Adult leaders, parents, friends and helpers who came along and took part in the “Walk for Paul 2015” raising money for Saint Francis Hospice. They all completed the 17 mile walk around Romford visiting all of Romford’s 18 Scout HQ’s. Follow there fundraising progress on Facebook and view more photos of their event! https://www.facebook.com/WalkForPaul

There is still time to donate to their worth while cause! Please follow this link to donate: http://www.justgiving.com/walkforpaul

Normandy 2015 – 3rd Squirrels Heath Sea Scouts & Zenith Explorers

18510701896_37007debd9_oAt May half term I was privileged to take my Scouts from 3rd Squirrels Heath Sea Scouts and the Zenith Explorers on a cycle trip to Normandy, France. We cycled from Cherbourg at the North of Normandy to Ouistreham to the East, using mainly quiet, coastal or country roads. Why were we there? We wanted to discover as many of the beaches used in the D Day landings in 1944, especially as it is the 70th Anniversary of V.E Day.

The Scouts carried all their own gear for the trip, stoves, tents and clothes. Each night we cooked as a collective, taking in turns to prepare the nights meal on Trangias but fresh croissants and drinking chocolate every morning for breakfast sourced the local shops by the Zenith Explorers who soon became experts at getting the best deal! We were away for eight days, seven nights camping at various sites, moving on each day was a great experience for the Scouts rising to the challenge of pitching and taking down tents everyday with a smile.

18350979639_2cf5e2fdd2_oMid week , Wednesday, camp routine was slightly different as we stayed at the Municipal Campsite at Bayeux for two nights. This gave us the opportunity of having dinner cooked for us by our support crew, Glynis and Theresa, who were staying in a static mobile home at the Bayeux campsite for the week plus provide free time for the Scouts and Leaders next day to enjoy the delights of this French town. Each day we tried to visit one museum in each area we were camping in, or along our route that dealt with the conflict but each one gave a different perspective on what had occurred which gave the Scouts a good perspective of the human cost of the conflict. This year we included a visit to the German Cemetery at La Cambe which was vastly different to those of the Allied Cemeteries some of the Scouts had visited in 2013 and the American Cemetery included on the 2015 itinerary.

Prior to free time on Wednesday in the morning we laid a wreath of remembrance at the British Cemetery at Bayeux, parading in full uniform; including the raising and lowering of our Group Colours. To the bemusement of French visitors this was conducted in complete silence- the Young People making us proud to be their Leaders. Bayeux Cemetery is of special interest to us because a relative James and Glynis Youngs. is buried there killed at the age of 20 on D Day. It was especially poignant as Glynis showed a photocopy of the telegram informing his mother of his demise and was able to share what she had discovered. This helped to capture the imagination of the Scouts as to what it might have been like to have landed on the beaches on 6th June 1944.

18350437579_b71dc5a2a5_oThroughout the trip the Scouts remained good spirited and sang songs while we cycled through the various villages along the coast much to the amusement of the locals..In total we cycled 132 miles and the Explorers 150 miles, as they had visited an extra museum; eight museums, one cinema, three Cemeteries and the RUG! Plus dinner in a French Restaurant and playing on the beach.

I have always been very lucky with my Scouts as they have always taken on the various crazy ideas our Leadership Team have thrown at them with enthusiasm. This trip being one of them. “How far have I cycled today? Whoa!” was the usual comment before going off to play a game of football or Frisbee before after dinner. Parents have commented on the change in their Scouts since their return from Normandy and the new confidence they now have. I would thoroughly suggest that if you have not already taken your Scouts abroad that you give it a try. The experience, team building, fun and putting into practice skills learnt in preparation for going to Normandy the Scouts and Explorers gained from this type of trip is one they will have for life. Also friendships are made or cemented as they helped and encouraged each other along the way. The Parent Helpers who attended also commented on what they had learnt from this experience.

17916211883_71d02f5bf4_oHowever, it should be noted that visiting Normandy could not have happened without the support received from the WHOLE Troop who helped to raise the necessary funds via attending five bag packing sessions at a local supermarket. One parent also ran some Try Dives to raise money. Everybody joined in to get us there. Such an adventure couldn’t have gone ahead without the prior visits and planning, so I would like to thank everyone involved in this as well as planning running this trip. The names are numerous but there needs to be a special thanks to our Support Crew Glynis and Theresa, who met us every day with lunch and were there when we needed them for a few bike repairs.

To sum up, this was a great trip. For me it clearly shows what can be achieved by having a great bunch of people working together to make sure Scouts are “Joining the Adventure ”

3rd Squirrels Heath Scout Leader.

View all their photos here!