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Happy memories of balmy days in the boy scouts

PUBLISHED: 17:40 08 December 2008 | UPDATED: 09:10 11 August 2010

What happens to old friends after they all go their separate ways? Some loose touch forever, some get drawn back together by the strangest coincidence, others meet again after 60 years in mutual admiration, like the members of the former 11th Dagenham Sc

What happens to old friends after they all go their separate ways?

Some loose touch forever, some get drawn back together by the strangest coincidence, others meet again after 60 years in mutual admiration, like the members of the former 11th Dagenham Scout Group..

Last month, (September 30) saw the happy reunion of group after their most memorable and character-building trek almost 60 years ago.

The joyful evening at the Moby Dick guesthouse in Chadwell Heath brought back many fond memories of Operation Overidge, which led the adventurous youngsters into the stunning scenery of the Cumbrian countryside.

This trip of a lifetime, under the stewardship of scout leader and former Royal Marine George Quin, who now lives in Tiverton, Devon, created the deep bond that was to last for decades.

Founded in 1931, the group started meeting at the United Methodist Church Hall in Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, before moving into Bethel Hall in Bennetts Castle Lane.

When George Quin joined to help establish a senior scout group in 1947, the scouts were operating out of Lymington Road School.

He only stayed in Dagenham for a few years before moving on to become a scout leader in Devon, but his accounts are documented in his upcoming memoirs.

The Post has seen extracts which refer to his time in Dagenham, where he lived and worked during the dire post war rationing period.

The group arranged a daring two-week trek through Cumbria under the banner of 'Operation Overidge' which The Dagenham Post of 1949 describes as "a trek across the Pennines and along the ridges of the Cumbrian Mountains."

The scouts walked about 75 miles in nine days.

The well-organised event kicked off in northern Cumberland in Ennerdale, leading down to Keswick, Thirimere, and led South along Whitehaven, Workington, Keswick, Helvelyn Summit, Kirkstone Pass, Troutbec Bridge, Windermere, Langdale where they camped on peaks, mountain passes and dales.

Defying the gravity of an average 50lbs heavy kit per scout, they enjoyed the beauty of nature while vigorously looking after their given tasks and duties.

Everyone was allocated a task for the trek.

Harry Reed was responsible for siting and erecting the tents, and for elementary precautions.

Patrol leader David Rowles was responsible for the inspection of equipment and, also, the erection of the Bivouac tents, while Patrol Second Brian Lynskey had to take care of the rations and cook.

Kings Scout Jim Savill was messenger and helped out with general duties.

In his memoirs, Mr Quin admits that he was 'a bit rusty on Scouting procedures and protocol and dealing with young people' when he first joined the Dagenham group but, as some of his former protégés have testified, he was more than well-received and added enormously to the camaraderie among the youngsters, as well as teaching them leadership skills for life.

Sheila Lynskey, of Donald Drive, Chadwell Heath, whose husband and brother were members of the senior scouts, said: "George gave them such a meaning to their lives."

She also said that some of the scouts went on to impress their future employees and personnel in the army with their organisational skills, thanks to what Mr Quin had taught them 60 years ago.

She added: "The amount of adulation they offered George had to be seen to be believed.


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