Widnes District

1911 - 2012

Taken from the 1961 (50 Years) Annual Report of the Widnes Boy Scouts Association.

In May 1911, a few men of goodwill met in Widnes Town Hall and decided to form a Widnes Association of Boy Scouts.

These men had been impressed by the enthusiasm shown among boys for the idea of Scouting in the three years since the introduction in 1908 and felt it very much necessary that the boys should have guidance and assistance from a responsible adult body.

If it were to become permanent there must be an organisation to co-ordinate activities and to ensure that only the right type of men were allowed to act as Scout-masters. It was also necessary to provide some kind of training for the Scoutmasters.

The growth had been so rapid and widespread that the need for a movement of this type was obvious but it will be remembered that the boys themselves, following the publication of Baden-Powell’s “Scouting for Boys” had formed themselves into Troops throughout the country and persuaded men to be their Scoutmasters.

Responsible persons were quick to appreciate that Scouting offered a means of providing adventure and healthy activity for the boys, established a code of honour and through fun and games developed a character that would go a long way in making a responsible citizen.

In Widnes members of the Town Council took the initiative and out of the meeting in May 1911, the Widnes Association of Boy Scouts was born. It is pleasing to note that many of these men retained their interest throughout their lives and, in many cases their families are still connected with the Movement.

The Widnes Town Council has, during the fifty years the Association has existed, maintained close contact and the Mayor has always accepted the office of president. Many presidents first came to the Movement as boys and were delighted, after a life given over to public service, to again serve a cause which provided them with help and pleasure in their youth. Council assistance also took the form of providing facilities for meetings, giving encouragement and support and very frequently members of the Town Hall staff gave help as officials of the Association and as active Scouters.

The towns-people of Widnes always responded well to appeals for assistance and finance and over the years the Widnes Association has been in the happy position of meeting the progressive growth of the Movement.

To-day our members number some eight hundred boys and many thousands of Widnes men have at some time or other in their lives been in the Cubs and or Scouts.

It is very obvious that any organisation can only exist and thrive for fifty years if its basic principles are sound and if it offers the boy the type of training that appeals. Throughout the years, time (and Boys) have changed and while the principles of the Scout Movement remain unchanged, the methods of training and the activities are now very different than they were in 1911. In short, the Movement has moved with the times and to this it owes its progressive and continued success and its present strong position.

The need for “Scouting for Boys” is probably more important to-day than it was at any previous time and with support from the Council and towns-people of Widnes, the Association feels that it can continue to contribute substantially in the development of character and helping boys to become responsible citizens.

Finally, on behalf of all the boys that have been connected with the Boy Scouts during the past fifty years the Widnes Boy Scout Association offers most grateful thanks to a great body of lay people whose enthusiasm and practical help laid the foundation of success.