The 1st Wargrave Guides unit was formed in 1919 and registered with Girlguiding on 11th August 1920. The first leader who was known as 'Captain' was called Miss Hardy and ran the group for 11-18 year olds (the age range for Guides has changed since then) every week in the Woodclyffe Hostel. A quote from the Parish Magazine says "Guides can be engaged for service at tea parties or similar functions, for weeding gardens or similar work at 3d per hour, which goes towards general funds." That's quite different from how we do our fundraising now! The patrols then were Thrushes, Robins and Skylarks. Now, they are Caterpillars, Bees, Dragonflies and Butterflies.
In May 1921 a Union Flag was presented to the Guides by Lady Rosemary Ephinstone. We do have two old and delicate Union Flags so perhaps this is how one of them came about.
In 1923 the Captain was called Sylvia Routley and she regularly took the Guides away as they were keen campers. Sadly the unit closed for a few years as there was no leader to run the group, but in August 1928 it was restarted by Miss Emerald Rhodes.
A Guide Hut was built and formally opened on 31st October 1931 by Gladys F Hanbury Williams (the County Commissioner at the time). It was built close to where Elizabeth Court and the doctors surgery are now. The Local Association of Girl Guides was also formed in Wargrave which was a body of parents and friends who supported and raised funds for the Guides and Brownies. The group's captain during this time was called Miss Duffus.
From approximately 1934, the Lieutenants of 1st Wargrave Guides were called Miss Baker and Miss Diana Hunter.
In April 1938, under their captain Miss L Noble, the Guides won the Berkshire County Girl Guide Challenge Cup. They also won the District round at Twyford and the Division round at Maidenhead and became the proud owners of two lovely cups.
Later in 1938, Mrs Stella Moreton became the Captain for the group and the last news of the Guides before the 2nd World War was a fundraising event they held in May 1939.
There are no recorded details until June 1944 which is when 1st Wargrave Guides arranged a dance to raise funds for the Girl Guide International Service. The group continued to remain active, enjoying camps, joining District events, raising monies for funds and charities, nativity plays and carol singing.
In 1949 a joint camp with the Waltham Guides was held at Chalkers Field in Hurst. The Waltham group are now known as 1st Knowl Hill and Waltham Guides.
1st Wargrave Guides closed in 1950 when the current captain left to become Brown Owl. It was reopened in 1952 by Mrs Pattern but it wasn't long until an urgent appeal was put out in the Parish Magazine asking for a new leader and stating that the Guides had been invited to join the Sonning Guides if a replacement wasn't found.
Miss Ursula Dyster rescued the unit in 1953 and as it was the Queen's coronation year, many activities were enjoyed. Mrs Dyster resigned in 1956 and her then Lieutenant, Mrs Gwen Hall, became the leader. In 1958 Mrs Bessemer became the Captain and under her lead the Guide company almost doubled in size and was very active.
On the 18th November 1960 a very special ceremony was held for Naomi Bird as she was presented with her Queen's Guide Award by the County Commissioner, Mrs Ann Parker-Bowles. Naomi was the first Guide in Wargrave, and the District, to gain this award.
The picture at the top of the page was taken in 1960 outside the old Guide Hut, and the Guides are stood on what now would be the carpark end of the surgery.
In January 1961, Noreen (Molly) Dean was persuaded to take over the unit with the help of Naomi Bird and Janice Haynes. Molly has written a lovely report of her time as Captain which can be found in The Second Book of Wargrave.
During the sixties, 1st Wargrave Guides' activities included fire lighting, drill, cooking and games outside. The Lieutenants that helped Molly during her 27 years as Captain were called Mrs Josey Hatch, Mrs Jackie Horsnell, Miss Norman Gowers, Mrs Shelia Holmes, Gillian Lawson, Miss Carol Hook, Mrs Maureen Wood, Mrs Janice Wren and Mrs Jill Meadowcroft.
In 1969 the Guide Hut was sold to make way for Elizabeth Court and the doctors surgery. The new HQ was finished in September 1970 and was formally opened on 16th July 1971. This is the Guide Hut that we now use, although it has changed quite a lot since! The special guest for the occasion was the County Commissioner, Mrs Penelope Stratton.
In 1978 it was decided that Loddon District had become too large so a new District, called Ashley District, was formed under Maidenhead Division.
On 16th March 1979, the Guide flag (which we still use today) was presented to the unit at the Queen's Guide Award ceremony for Sara Raybone. In 1983 the Queen's Guide Award moved to the Rangers and a new badge was created for the Guide section, called the Baden-Powell Award. On 16th November 1984 Karen Wedeking was the first Guide in Wargrave (and also the County) to receive the Baden-Powell Award.
The Guides were on a rota for many years to clean the Church brasses each week. They also presented Elizabeth Court with garden chairs and planted a tree in the gardens outside.
In January 1973, 2nd Wargrave Guides was opened to keep up with the demand for spaces but a shortage of leaders meant the two Guide groups amalgamated in 1986.
In 1987, after 27 years, Molly decided to retire from being the Captain. Mrs Jill Meadowcroft took over and in 1992 her daughter, Anna, represented the County at an international camp in Portugal. Jill retired at the end of 1996.
Our knowledge of what happened to 1st Wargrave Guides after Jill retired is patchy. However, we know that the unit was closed for a few years and was reopened in September 2010 by Tamsin Phipps and Amber Owen. In November 2018 Helen Horsley-Goswell joined the leadership team.
As you can see, since 1st Wargrave Guides opened it has been led by many volunteers which we are sure all the past and current Guides are very grateful for.
Wargrave Senior Section opened in January 2016 to enable the girls who had reached the upper age limit for Guides to carry on with Girlguiding in Wargrave. The group's name changed to Wargrave Rangers (as they are known now) as part of the Girlguiding programme restructure in 2018.
Many thanks to Peter Delaney from the Wargrave Local History Society for helping us with information for this page of our website.