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Following last month’s focus on our older Explorer Scouts, this month, I will turn to our younger Scout Troop. Unlike our two Cub Packs, we only operate one Scout Troop but with thirty members and several ready to move-up to us from Cubs, we are thriving.

As members move from Beavers to Explorers via Cubs and Scouts, with age and growing experience, we expect them to take on more leadership. Our night hike and sleepover is a good example of this. The Scouts plan the route, agree kit lists and arrange food. As leaders, our job is to give the framework to allow members to take a lead.

Further leadership and freedom is being offered as part of our plans for our summer 2019 trip to Kandersteg, Switzerland. It is the Scouts and Explorers who will decide activities and travel method. We will manage the budget and offer advice, but it is their choice. To those who question the relevance of Scouting to today’s young people, the answers are simple, it is about having fun, challenging yourself and building skills, now and for the future.

Some of our recent activities have included a Burns Supper cooked by the Scouts, night games, a ready steady cook evening, a taskmaster evening, open fire

ISSUE 423 | 22 FEBRUARY 2018 | 50

cooking and the ever-popular chip shop challenge - spot the regular food theme, they always want to eat. Coming soon, we will be taking part in a jamboree, where the Scouts join our Beavers, Cubs and Explorers in an international competition to find the best individuals, teams and Scout groups. Another evening will involve caving at King Kong in Keswick, followed by a scavenger hunt in town. Between typing this and publication, we plan to have a pancake evening, with activities including blindfold cooking and pancake flipping challenges.

More details of our Scout Group can be found on Facebook by searching Cockermouth Scout Group and send us a message through the page. Alternatively, you can contact us through the Cumbria Scouts website.

Steve Dawson


U3A’s Fit ‘n’ Active Drama Group fulfilled a request put forward by Dean and District Community Thursday Club to help them celebrate a Haggis, Neeps and Tatties afternoon in celebration of Robert Burns.

Stewart Grant made an opening address, then spoke briefly about Robert Burns, or Rabbie Burns the ‘Bard of Ayrshire. Rabbie was quite a character, turning his hand to many jobs in his short life. He fathered 12 children, the last one being born on the day of his funeral.

Stewart then went on to introduce Gillian Scholey who recited five of her favourite poems with great panache. This was followed by Tom Leadingham reciting from memory one of Rabbie’s longest poems Tam O’Shanter. First written in 1791, this poem was completed in a day and contained 224 lines, remembering the lines, both in English and light Scots dialect.

The Haggis, was then brought into the room on a silver platter to the sound of bagpipes and was carried aloft before being given to the Laird, Hugh MacLeod, who then

proceeded to address the Haggis but not before shooting it with his makeshift rifle. This gesture had the audience laughing out loud. Hugh then pulled from his gaiter his Sgian Dubh and ferociously stabbed the Haggis to much applause. The Haggis was then toasted by everyone with the usual wee dram. It was then taken to the kitchen and served up with the Neeps, Tatties and gravy.

“Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit.”

To round off the afternoon Paul Tharonnget and Carole Sykes recited some amusing poems to the twenty-strong audience and Stewart then gave a vote of thanks to everyone concerned.

If you are interested in joining this merry group of Thespians, contact Stewart Grant via the U3A website. Alternatively, email

Carole Sykes



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