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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Help get Cumbrian scouts back on the road

A CATASTROPHIC MoT failure means the minibus for the 1st Wigton Baden Powell Scouts has had to be taken off the road.

Wigton Scouts photo
Members of the 1st Wigton Baden-Powell Scouts with their minibus

Now the group, which takes 80 boys and girls away regularly for camping fun and activities, is pulling out all the stops to make its major fundraising event – an auction of promises next month – a success.

The scouts, who picked up a welcome £500 from The Cumberland News’s sister paper, the News & Star’s Community Chest fund earlier this month, still need £5,000 if they are to replace the 19-year-old, second-hand minibus they have run for seven years, before a planned trip to Italy with 20 scouts in the summer.

Julie Bryceson, who has run the Wigton Scouts as Akela for 20 years, with a band of volunteers, said: “The MoT failure certificate makes grim reading.

“I didn’t expect it to pass, but I was hoping to be able to spend £100-150 maximum to keep it going for a few more months. What has happened is a disaster.”

In the next few weekends, Wigton beavers, cubs and scouts, would have been using their familiar green and yellow bus to go on a Scout map and compass training weekend, seniors’ expedition camp and area cub training course.

Julie added: “The summer programme will have to be changed because we can’t go flying all over the countryside like we usually do. Now there is even more urgency to get funds for a replacement.”

Any trips which do need to be made, like getting to Castleside in County Durham for the area St George’s Day parade on April 13, will cost at least £1 per mile to hire a bus or coach.

The scouts estimate they’ll need £10,000 to buy a new, second-hand bus. Parents, supporters and youngsters have been working hard at bag-packing and waffle-selling over the past two years to bring in around £4,500. The recent donation from the News & Star’s Community Chest fund raised that total to £5,000.

With other fundraising activities still planned, the biggest event will be the Auction of Promises on Friday, April 11. It is being held in the New Stocksman at Hopes’ auction mart in Wigton from 6pm.

More than 80 items have been promised – from a cheese-making lesson to a lake cruise, family days out, match tickets for Carlisle United and a freshwater pearl necklace

Julie said: “We need this auction to make thousands of pounds, so we need to really encourage our supporters to come along. Anyone who remembers what scouts did for them in years gone by, or who understands the value of giving outdoor, confidence-building experiences to young people needs to get behind our push.

“The community has already shown it’s behind Wigton Scouts by voting for us to receive the £500 from the News & Star Community Chest Fund, now we need people to come and bid generously for some great promises which local businesses and parents have pledged.”

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