Whaley Bridge takes city scouts to its heart

AN inner city Scout group from Manchester, with a unique link to Whaley Bridge, returns on Friday (23 July) for the 91st year of its annual camp by the banks of the River Goyt,  And they want the community to come and say hello round the campfire.

 The 161st Manchester Scouts, from Cheetham Hill, is known as Jodrell’s Own after a chance meeting with Lt Col.  Ramsden Jodrell, then head of the local landowning family, who offered the Manchester boys a campsite just below St James’s Church. That was in 1919, and they have been coming back ever since.

 The scouts will march to St James for a special service at 10.30am on Sunday (25 July).  With them will be a tattered and torn Union Jack, first given to the group when it was formed in 1913. As it is carried up the aisle of St James’s Church, it might look like a battle honour from a cavalry regiment.  In fact, it is older than many 20th century battle honours, although it has had a more peaceful history.  St James’s  has connections with the Jodrell family – or Jauderells in medieval times – that go back to the death of Roger, an archer to the Black Prince, at Agincourt in 1415.

 The Union Jack was given to the newly formed 161st by the local vicar in Cheetham Hill, when choirmaster Charles Craddock was first planning  to set up the group.  The vicar doubted it would succeed, but said he would buy a large union flag if it did.  He was as good as his word.

 The flag, kept in the Scout hut, has been used for the investiture of every new member since.  It’s so thin, that you could see the church’s stained glass window through it last year when Sean Doran, whose dad Darran is acting group Scout leader, proudly showed off the faded flag.

Darran has made a warm invitation to Whaley Bridge people:  Come and see us on Sunday afternoon (25 July) from 1.30pm at our open day. It will be a chance to see modern scouting in action, and maybe sample some campsite fare.

  •  Michael Jodrell, grandson of Col Ramsden Jodrell and a former member of Jodrell’s Own, who now lives in Dorset, plans to visit Whaley Bridge for the Sunday service and open day.
  • Getting to the campsite:  Take the A5004 (Long Hill) from Horwich End, towards Buxton. About half a mile out, park at the large lay-by on the right.  The campsite, which will be signed, is just below, between the road and the River Goyt.

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