Recollections of 10th Warrington (Sankey St. Mary’s) Cub and Scout Group
by David Gibson

I was born in Stockton-on-Tees in April 1942 so would have joined the cubs in 1950. My father, Harry Gibson had been in the Cubs and Scouts in Stockton where he was enrolled into the 3rd Thornaby Scouts on 3rd October 1924 at the age of 12. When we moved to Warrington (Latchford) in 1947 Dad was soon involved in the Movement again and appears in the 1948 Warrington Scout Week Brochure as Cubmaster of 29th Warrington (Holy Trinity) Group. The following year we moved to Penketh and he soon became Cubmaster of the 10th Warrington Wolf Cubs, a position he held until he moved with his job to Carlisle in 1957. Soon after arriving in Carlisle he started a new Scout Troop, the 7th Carlisle (Stanwix), later becoming Group Scout Leader. Later still he became an Assistant Commissioner and in 1977 Camping and International Advisor for Cumbria East Division. He was active in this role until shortly before his death in 1979. Harry Gibson received a Long Service Medal in 1948, a Medal of Merit in 1966 and the Silver Acorn in 1972.

Rose Queen day walk, probably circa 1954. My Dad extreme left at the front, Eileen Wilkins (Akela) is at the back of the Cubs nearest the kerb. Keith (Fred) Emery is behind her. I am at the back of the Scouts near the white line, David Fletcher is in front of me and the other Cub Leader Shirley Makin is in front of him. The Cub at the front nearest the camera is Ian Maclean and behind him is Peter Smithers. Peter had a twin called John but I can’t recognise him on the photo.

A better view of Eileen and Shirley, Keith behind Eileen and behind Keith next to the back is Tommy Jones and at the back (guessing) Roger Park or Parkes? I am above Eileen with David Fletcher in front of me.

From left to right at the front, Charles ‘Skipper’ Dumbill, John Bingham, John Tyson (bearing the flag) and John Dumbill (Charles son) behind the police officer, at the back nearest the kerb, escorting the Scout flag is Ian McEchearn.

I joined the 10th Warrington Wolf Cubs in 1950, although I had ‘tagged along’ at Cubs events before then with ‘Baloo’ as my father was known. ‘Akela’ at the time was Eileen Wilkins, and another Cub leader was Shirley Makin. The Cub Pack met in the Sunday School building next to Great Sankey Primary School. I was a Second and a Sixer before moving on to the Scouts in 1953.

When I joined the 10th Warrington Scouts the Scout Hut was behind Miss Booth’s shop at Deacon’s Farm, near the junction of St. Mary’s Road and Meeting House Lane. During my time with the Scouts the hut was not in the best of repair, and space was limited due to the storage of waste paper which was to be sold to raise funds towards a new hut. Charles ‘Skipper’ Dumbill was Group Scoutmaster and John Bingham, John Tyson and Mike Baines were also Leaders. The hut still provided many happy hours of Scouting and some good friends were made during that time. Skipper Dumbill’s son John (a year older than me) was one, Ian McEchearn, Keith ‘Fred’ Emery, Cyril (Squirrel) Wilkinson, Alfie Butler, David Fletcher and Stuart Hulse, who became a lifelong friend. I always remember some of the boys from St. Georges Church of England Home who joined the Scouts, Tommy Jones and Pete Evans are names and faces that I remember.

Every first Sunday in the month was Church Parade when we marched from the Scout Hut to St. Mary’s Church, and I remember that great care had to be taken dipping the flags to manoeuvre them through the entrance and under the balcony to take them to the front of the Church where they remained for the duration of Morning Service. I would rather not remember the morning that one of the flags was not raised high enough and became impaled on the underside of the balcony. Reverend Percival Carman was not amused.

In the back of the lorry going to camp at Penmaenmawr, left to right, Alfie Butler, Pete Evans (at the back), Bill Bingham, Skip Dumbill (asleep) and David Fletcher.

Camping was always an adventure, whether taking the patrol to Cuerdley for the weekend, to the Scout Association Campsite at Bispham Hall, or the annual week-long Whitsuntide camp at Tyddyn Du Farm near Penmaenmawr in North Wales.. The latter was a most enjoyable event between sea and mountains, the views and experience were stunning. We probably learnt more about Scouting and progressed more towards attaining Proficiency Badges and Second and First Class status at these camps than we did for the rest of the year.

‘Skipper’ Dumbill always expected the highest standards and taught us to do the same, and we always camped to ‘Camping Standards’ where we could be inspected at any time by a local Commissioner or their representative.

‘Skipper’ Dumbill at Penmaenmawr camp

One evening when we had some free time, a group of us were set off to walk into Penmaenmawr when we met a lady who asked us where Tyddyn Du was. We gave her directions (good turn) and told her and that we were camping there. A light-hearted conversation with her followed then we went on our respective ways. It was only on our return to camp that we found out that she was on her way to inspect our camp. We can’t have made too bad an impression as both we and the campsite passed her inspection.

After moving to Carlisle in 1958 I helped with formation of the 7th Carlisle (Stanwix) Troop and spent a few years as a Senior Scout. In the lean years for Scouting the 7th Carlisle amalgamated with the 13th Carlisle (Trinity School) Group and as one of my sons was a Scout there I became involved with the Committee and later served as Group Chairman.

These notes are from recollections and photographs which are all over sixty years old and I am almost eighty years old, so I apologise for any errors, which are entirely mine. I would like to thank former 10th Warrington Group Scoutmaster John Bingham for his help in remembering names and information about the years after I left Warrington in 1958. I hope these ramblings are of interest and I would recommend, even urge, members of the Group to record events in both pictures and words for future generations of Cubs and Scouts to research and enjoy. Remember, what happens today will be history tomorrow. Be Prepared !

David Gibson, January 2022

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls