4th Worth History

The Group were founder members of the Worth District of the Boy Scouts Association later known as the East Grinstead, Forest Row and Worth District Association, transferring to the Crawley District Scout Council at the end of May 1953. Formed in 1908 by Dr. E. Willett who was Scout Master for the first three years when he handed over to the Rev. S. Osbourne who ran the Troop for about a year, with the Troop meeting in the loft of a barn next to what was then the Rectory for Worth Church. In 1912 and for the next 26 years Miss Laura Nix was Lady Scout Master and her sister Miss Mary Nix ASM. They were assisted by Miss Amy Geddes, ASM and Mr. William Stace, Instructor. The Misses Nix provided the Troop with their own Scout Hut in the grounds of their home, Worth Lodge, a large house situated next to Worth Lodge Farm, just to the east of where the M23 now runs.

In 1919 the Troop had 4 Leaders and 46 boys, and ran both a successful drum and bugle band (we still have one or two of the instruments), and took an active interest in rifle shooting, winning many competitions.

On the 3rd August 1914 the Troop were preparing for camp when they received an order from the District Commissioner, Sir Hanbury Brown, to proceed immediately to the Maidenbower Railway bridge and guard it against sabotage. (pictured). They were there within 90 minutes and stayed on guard for 30 days and nights. As a result 4 Leaders and 11 boys were awarded the 1st War “War Badge”. Whilst in camp at Lancing in 1925, Miss Mary Nix saved a man from drowning and was awarded the Scout Association’s Gold Medal. In 1928 the Troop had five Leaders, Miss Laura Nix, Lady Scout Master, Miss Mary Nix, Miss Amy Geddes, Miss Marjorie Edye and Mr. George Denman, all ASM’s and 31 Scouts. Following the retirement of the Misses Nix in 1938, Ron Brett became Scout Master, assisted by Bert Cramp.

In 1939 with the outbreak of the second World War, both were called up for military service and for a couple of years the Troop met under the leadership of some of the more senior members until Perce Tatnall assisted by the Rev. Tom Wright and Tug Robinson took charge. Meetings were held in the field behind the Montefiore Institute, Hazelwick Road or – if wet in the side room of the Institute. Patrol meetings were also held for a time in what was then an A.R.P. Post at Tilgate Lodge today is Barclays Bank. Despite food rationing and other restrictions the Troop camped at Balcombe during Whitsun 1944, at Smockbottom Lake in Worth Forest in August 1944 and in August 1945 were in camp at Lancing and celebrated VJ day with a huge bonfire on the beach and other celebrations, some of which did not meet the approval of the local D.C. By the end of 1944 the Troop were again homeless and meet under a large beech tree just to the north of what is now Wordsworth Close. With the war over the Canadian forces stationed in Worth Park departed and the Troop obtained the use of a large recreational hut vacated by the Canadians standing on land, which is today Hardy Close. In 1945 Gerald Curd, Troop Leader, became the second member of the Group to receive an award from the Scout Association when he was awarded the Association’s Medal for Meritious Service for saving the life of a fellow 4th Worth Scout – Michael Jenner – in an accident on a train. In 1946 George Jarvis became Scout Master and ran the Troop until handing over in 1950 to Dick Manvile who remained G.S.L. until 1961 when he moved away from the district. During this period Dick was supported by Den and Norman Billett and John Baldwin, all who served as ASL’s.

For the period up to 1975 there was no Group Scout Leader until Jean Steele, who joined the Group in 1948 as a Lady Cub Master, was appointed GSL, a position she held until she retired in 1996. Peter Raine, who joined the Group in 1959 as a Cub, then took over the position, a position he held until 2000 when he had to step down due to ill health and Peter Chapman became GSL. Peter Chapman stepped down for personal reasons and Paul Raine became GSL in 2003. Peter Raine has remained in the Group as AGSL and joining Peter is Bob Doe also an AGSL.

Jean Steele was appointed the District’s first Honorary Scouter on her retirement in 1996 and since then has been Group chairman. In 2006 Jean was awarded the Scout Association’s highest award—The Silver Acorn. Jean sadly pass away in February 2008, it would have been her 60th year in Scouting and 4th Worth.

In 2011 a third Beaver section was started, Nelson. Peter Raine was voted chairman of the group.

But like all history the story will go on.