From the Sentinel –

A SCOUT troop marked their 100-year anniversary with the official opening of their revamped hall.

The 77th Audley Scouts celebrated the anniversary by unveiling £60,000 worth of improvements to their base at Wereton Road.

And scout leaders were honoured to put on display a letter from 91-year-old Thomas Cragg who had been a member of the troop in 1932.

In the letter Mr Cragg, who was born in Apedale valley, wrote: “I still have fond memories of my scouting days in the Audley troop.

“In those days going camping was like a holiday.

“When I first joined the scouts they had a bugle band and we had wide-brimmed hats that we used to put sugar and water on the brim to keep them stiff.”

Scout group leader Christopher Symonds said: “The scouts started in Audley in June 1912 so it is an incredible achievement to still be going so strong.

“We have had to get the whole building redone with a new roof, toilets and kitchen.

“The total spend was around £60,000 but a lot of that came from grants.”

The hall, which is used by about 50 scouts, has also had a laminated floor installed and the roof space opened up to store all their camping gear.

The fireplace has been taken out and new utensils put in the kitchen.

Mr Symondssaid: “We needed to have a bigger facility because of the number of youngsters who use the hall.

“And we thought it would be very fitting to welcome parents and the public into the hall on our 100-year celebration.”

The scouts, beavers and cubs held an opening ceremony on Saturday before ending the evening with a celebration at Audley Cricket Club.

Paula Mello, an assistant cub leader from Miles Green, has been involved with the groups for five years and is delighted with the improvements.

She said: “It is an excellent new facility and a lot better than what we had.

“The children think it is fantastic and they have a lot more space to run around.

“I think it is quite an achievement to reach 100 years and it shows that sense of continuity.

“The letters that we have on show are proof of how many people have been involved with the scouts over the years and the difference it has made to their lives.”

Charlie Harrison, aged seven from Edward Street in Bignall End is very pleased with the Scout hall.

He said: “I like the building and it is better because we have more places to store our tents.”

Mr Cragg added: “I loved every minute of the scouts up until I left when I was 18.”