Ealing & Hammersmith District celebrates 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Ealing & Hammersmith District celebrated it's 50th anniversary at Mad Bess Woods in Ruislip. 

We know that there was a Woodcraft Folk district in Ealing after the war, but it closed at some point. The current district was started in 1969 and we decided to mark this with an anniversary camp in early July. It felt very much like a reunion as members from the various decades met, sometimes after years of not having seen each other.

Elsa Sothern, one of the founder members and now 94 years old, was in good form as was Margaret Manley who joined as a leader soon after. Both stayed active for well over 20 years. It was lovely to have some of the original Elfins join in the festivities too. Also to welcome the children of some previous members to a camp for the first time, looks like it won’t be their last. Many current group leaders have been active for well over a decade, Emma Laws stands out with 30 years involvement! The district is aware that we need to get current parents involved as the leaders of the future.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the timeline (on the back of Hanwell Hootie banners) which had some important points like international camps marked already, but was then added too by those present.

Much has stayed the same over the 50 years: We still like camping – the Mad Bess site used for the anniversary camp was one of the original sites, we use the morning cry to get people up, enjoy some of the same songs around the camp fire and still use the orange Vangos. And obviously we still provide a great experience for kids, ‘creative, inspiring and hilarious kids’. We thought that super market deliveries to site were a new thing, only to be reminded of the use of cash and carry in the past.

Here are some points that were noted as having changed: The use of mobile phones and even laptops at camp, more cars and dogs allowed at most camps. The food has become more international with Indian, Thai, Mexican and Middle Eastern influences. For Ealing one of the new acquisitions has been the Pop Ups, sturdy gazebos, which provide shelter against rain and sun at weekend camps.

There were around 115 old and new members in attendance for the Saturday evening which saw a massive camp fire and hours and hours of music. It was amazing how well a number of talented musicians joined together to lead the singing.

Let’s hope we inspired some current members to keep Ealing & Hammersmith District going for decades to come.

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Report of Ealing Anniversary with pictures.docx378.89 KB