Guiding girls on their way

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BAck in 1972 girl guides were aiming to get badges in doing the laundry, cooking and changing nappies.

All useful skills for the housewifely duties they would be expected to perform in later life.

But 40 years later guides are now more likely to be gaining badges in debating skills and presentation, aimed at preparing them for the workplace.

It was four decades ago that the 1st Morton St Paul’s guides started.

The current crop of 26 guides celebrated the unit’s 40th birthday with a 1970s-style buffet and singalong.

Unit guider Rosi Fieldson, who was born in 1972, said: “The guides had prepared the food which included banoffee pie which, according to the internet, was unknown prior to 1972.”

“We also had another 70s’ favourite, prawn cocktail vol-au-vents.”

“The guides also provided entertainment as part of a number of challenges.”

The entertainment included dancing to the Donny Osmond hit Puppy Love, singing along to the New Seekers’ hit I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, and racing around on space hoppers, a classic 70s outdoor pastime.

“The space hopper racing was a big hit and is likely to be repeated soon by popular demand, although it was fairly exhausting,” said Rosi, who lives at Corringham.

She said the girls were fascinated by the old guiding archives from the Gainsborough division and had a go at some of the games from the old handbooks.

They even passed the old laundress badge, which was removed from the syllabus 20 years ago on the grounds of being too old-fashioned.

“It’s still good to know they can handwash and iron if need be!” said Rosi.

“The badges have changed quite a bit, to move with the times. They used to be more about childcare and domestic skills but now they are more aimed at careers and personal development.”

Ann Lawrence, the original leader who set up the Morton unit, was at the party with one of the first six girl guides, Janice Baldock, nee French.

Other past leaders and more recent old guides were also there, along with the brownies who will join before the end of 2012.

Rosi said the unit, which has always met at the village hall, is known as Morton St Paul’s because there had been a much older unit called 1st Morton which had existed up until 1958.

She said the guides also tried on uniforms from 40 years ago, when A-line skirts and flight attendant-style hats were worn.

“They said they felt smart in it. It had a bit more of a military style to it. Nowadays they were wear T-shirts and sweat shirts and jeans, although when they are on parade they are expected to wear black school trousers and shoes.”

Rosi was a member of the guides when growing up in Market Rasen and kept her links with guiding even when working abroad, finding units to join in Italy and Egypt.

She has been unit guider at Morton since last September. She said: “For me the best bit about being a guider is when funny little brownies arrive at the age of ten and in four years they grow up before your eyes into responsible and capable young women who will be the leaders of the future.”