The Scout group in Amport dates from the early years of Scouting, having been formed in 1910 by Dr Paul Walker, son of the late rev. Spencer Walker, Vicar of Amport. Originally 1st Amport St. Mary’s, the troop merged with Monxton’s Scout Troop in 1912 to form the 2nd Andover Troop.
The Great War took a heavy toll, and the group struggled to remain open. However on the 13th of October 1920, the group re-formed under the leadership of Guy Parry (who remained as Scoutmaster until 1969!). The Scout group would meet in the attic rooms of Amport School. In fact so many local boys wanted to join the group (many under the age of 11) that Mr Parry’s sister established a “Wolf Cub pack.”
Throughout the inter-war years, the Scout troop and Cub pack thrived, playing a central role in community life. In 1935, the Scouts built Amport’s Jubilee beacon on Snake Hill (mid way between Amport & East Cholderton); one of a thousand up and down the country lit to celebrate King George V’s Silver Jubilee.
Out of the blue, in 1938 the group received a letter from the Chief Scout, and founder, Lord Baden-Powell; presenting a gift to the unit. Lord Baden-Powell was returning to Africa and in clearing his house gifted the unit a Tribal Ladle. His letter described his great admiration for the work of the Scout group.
Camping has always been a central theme of Scouting. Our Scouts were no exception. Their first camp was held in 1925 in Hartney Whitney. Since that date the Scouts and Cubs continue to enjoy camping and outdoor “pioneer” projects.
Originally a “land” Scout troop; in 1943 the troop changed from Land Scouts to Sea Scouts. Sailing was initially a hit or miss affair, with few places for the Scouts to practice. However when conditions permitted, the Troop would sail their eleven foot sailing dinghy “Moby Dick” on Mullins Pond! Today, the group has a number of dinghys and sails out of Calshot sailing club on the Solent.
Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s 2nd Andover Sea Scouts & Cubs thrived, drawing in boys from many of the surrounding villages. The Scouts played a central roll in the community of Amport, Monxton, East Cholderton and Thruxton. Unlike today, Scouting was one of the few activities available to young boys. So popular was the group, that it was not uncommon for boys to travel (on their own) from villages as far as Grateley & Kimpton. The group was well known for its lavish amateur dramatic productions (often featured in the Andover Advertiser and Hampshire Chronicle). Indeed the “Gang Show” is still a part of the Scout’s calendar.
By the 1970’s, the group was thriving; Camping and Sailing formed core activities for the boys. June 1971 saw a waterlogged district camp at Danebury (an experience not unfamiliar for today’s Scouts and Cubs!). The group now owned an impressive selection of dinghys and canoes. Most impressive however was the purchase of a “Mirror” dinghy kit using Green Shield Stamps! The dinghy was constructed by the Scouts and named “This un & That un”
1976 was Andover Scouts own Jublee year – marking 60 years of Scouting in Andover. The Town honored the Scouting Association by planting a flower bed in South Street. That was also the year that Miss Ray Parry (Cub Pack
Leader) retired after 60 years of service, and was honored with the award of Silver Wolf – the highest awared in Scouting.
In September 1986 following a summer camp, it was decided to form a Venture Scout unit for the older boys. Named “Eishken“ (after an earlier district Rover Scout Unit of 30 years ago). The new Venture Scouts established themselves as a serious unit with success in a series of Scouting challenges: District speed-hikes, five-a-side soccer, weekends in the Breacon Beacons and the Trek Cart challenge in the New Forest – where Eishken became National Champions!
Eishken Venture Scouts had a unique investiture ceromony for members; on an island no larger than 3 meters wide, in the middle of Poole Harbour! Throughout the eighties, the small Eishken Venture Scout Group thrived. Indeed two of the Venture Scouts raised over £900 each to join 50 other Hampshire Scouts on “Project Gambia” – Building 2 School buildings for local villages in Gambia. The Venture Scouts remained active until the early Ninties when the members went to university or began their careers and went their separate ways.
As society progressed, so the Scouting movement did too, welcoming Girls, extending the opportunity for membership to all young people in the community. It was also around this time that a Beaver Colony was established for young children (6-8 years old).
The group met in various locations across the village; in an outbuilding at Beck House, in the old village.
halls of Monxton and Amport, until finally moving to its present site at East Cholderton.
In 1990, after considerable fundraising, a new Scout Hut was built on Wiremead Lane, East Cholderton, providing the Scouts with an outstanding facility including our very own Climbing Wall as well as Hall, Project Room and Workshop, and drawing children from Amport, Monxton, Thruxton, Weyhill and even Grateley & Kimpton.