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Young and old Cranham Brownies celebrate 75th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 17:08 30 October 2019

County commissioner Chris Skinner, assistant county commissioner Jenny Aspinall, Cranham district lead Helen Hawkes and past Brown Owls Jo Gower, Jan Harris, and Doris Henry. Picture: David Henderson

County commissioner Chris Skinner, assistant county commissioner Jenny Aspinall, Cranham district lead Helen Hawkes and past Brown Owls Jo Gower, Jan Harris, and Doris Henry. Picture: David Henderson

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Brownies young and old came together to share stories of the group through the ages as the 1st Cranham Brownies celebrated their 75th anniversary.

Sarah Wiles, unit leader and Brown Owl, cutting cake with the 1st Cranham Brownies. Picture: David HendersonSarah Wiles, unit leader and Brown Owl, cutting cake with the 1st Cranham Brownies. Picture: David Henderson

The group meets every week at All Saints Church Hall in Cranham to get girls together from five different schools in the area but the celebration on Monday, October 28 included a party which featured Brown Owl leaders from previous years joining as well as some of the broader Girlguiding community.

District Commissioner Helen Hawkes was a Brownie as a seven-year-old with the Cranham pack in the 1970s and said that not much has changed over the years.

She said: "The children are very different today but the basic goal of getting girls together to be girls and have fun is the same as it was when I was a Brownie."

Jan Harris first got involved with the Cranham Brownies as a 14-year-old helper and has been active as a Girl Guide for more than 50 years.

The 1st Cranham Brownies celebrated their 75th anniversary on Monday 30, October. Picture: David HendersonThe 1st Cranham Brownies celebrated their 75th anniversary on Monday 30, October. Picture: David Henderson

Jan said the biggest change she's seen over the years has been keeping up with health and safety rules.

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She said: "When I was a kid we used to be able to just take the girls to the fields if it was a nice night but now you'd need to get permission from the parents. It used to be a lot more spontaneous."

Jan said one of the biggest challenges through the years has been to get volunteer help because when she started not a lot of women worked so it was easier to get help.

The 1st Cranham Brownies played traditional party games at the 75th anniversary event. Picture: David HendersonThe 1st Cranham Brownies played traditional party games at the 75th anniversary event. Picture: David Henderson

She said: "Lots of packs have opened and closed because they didn't have help so it's quite an achievement that 1st Cranham has stayed open for 75 years."

Current Brown Owl Sarah Wiles joined the group a year ago and discovered the milestone when she stumbled upon some papers showing when the group was set up.

She oversees 20 girls aged between seven and nine and said it's been a glorious experience.

She said: "It's so much fun and so rewarding for the girls to learn the kind of skills that will help them throughout their life."

The 1st Cranham Brownies played traditional party games at the 75th anniversary event. Picture: David HendersonThe 1st Cranham Brownies played traditional party games at the 75th anniversary event. Picture: David Henderson

The Cranham Brownies group is currently looking for new leaders or helpers to volunteer.

Visit girlguiding.org.uk to find out more.

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