In Memory of Phil Heard, GSL

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Today we celebrated the funeral of Phil Heard, our Group Scout Leader, who died in early February.

Phil was an integral part of Westbury-on-Trym Baptist Church and his funeral was held their on Friday 11th March 2022 at 1:30pm. I shared a Scout Tribute to Phil during the service, which forms the basis for this post.

Baloo, Cub Scout Leader

Scouting Tribute to Phil Heard

Phil’s introduction to Scouting to the 167th Bristol Westbury Baptist Scout Group was in 1989 when the Scout Leader of the time, Barry Seward, asked him to help with some pioneering and bridge building on a Scout Camp in an apple orchard in the depths of the Wye valley. Phil turned up with Alison, Sarah and Ed in tow and the Scouting seed was sown!

Phil Heard. Group Scout Leader, Scout Leader, Beaver Leader

In the late nineties, Phil was, again, found on Scout Camps as a Parent Helper – with a special proficiency in cooking bacon sandwiches. Much, I’m sure, to the delight of then Scout Leader Simon Evans.

Fast forward to 2004 when Terry Wright was the Group Scout Leader and wanting to retire from the role. The Group Scout Leader is a Scouting Volunteer whose role it is to support the leaders of the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and to steer the direction and workings of the group. Terry saw a highly valuable candidate in Phil, with his vast teaching experience, management skills and organisation of student events, especially of school camps; all this coupled with a love of outdoor activities. Phil accepted the challenge and guided the group for the next 7 or 8 years including while scouting welcomed girls to join throughout the age groups. Over this time many current and ex-scouters benefited from Phil’s encouragement. He was always available as a sounding board; not shy of sharing his opinion of how things could be done – but always supporting our decisions and his trust in us leaders gives us confidence.

Phil was also generous with his time and expertise outside of the 167th Group, benefiting other Groups in the district – particularly, if I recall the 169th in Brentry and the 3rd in Bishopston.

And then, a good few years ago, at the end of a the Scout Leadership of Ross Perry, no one else was forthcoming, so Phil stepped in to lead the Scout Troop – though he wasn’t supposed to be leading a section as well as being Group Scout Leader. I can’t imagine the groan emitted by the District Commissioner when Phil told him last September that, in order to keep the Beaver colony going, he would start leading that too!

But all of this doesn’t really do justice to the essence of Phil the Scouter, which was, I think, his heart for the children and young people themselves. Phil was an inimitable enabler and empowerer of young people’s engagement in scouting. Phil strongly supported ensuring that scouting was accessible to all young people whatever barriers might initially appear in their way. If there was a problem, Phil would be very quick to work towards the solution and get the community involved where he could. So, when Covid hit us – Phil immediately jumped on the chance to learn how to do online scouting and he was delighted with the quirky new experiences and opportunities that presented themselves to cubs and scouts.

There are so many scouts for whom Phil was important. I think Phil’s legacy in Scouting is the sheer amount of young people who grew in maturity and confidence, skills for life and a love of the outdoors through his tenure as our Shere Khan, our Group Scout Leader.

Phil Heard has Gone Home.

The circle of stones with one in the middle is the tracking symbol “Gone Home” used to tell those following that you are no longer walking the hills.

As a steadfast follower of Jesus, Phil’s church family know that he has Gone Home to be with his Heavenly Father.

Cubs’ Burns Supper and Ceilidh

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With parents and cubs welcomed by our resident piper, Burns Supper was underway.

Cubs celebrated the Scottish bard, Robert Burns, in style with a fantastically led ceilidh and a taster of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties – all accompanied by kilt-wearing leaders and guests.

The evening started with a piped welcome to cubs and parents from one of our Dads – Many thanks to Vance for your lending us your musicianship. In the covid-ventilated cold hall, some warming up was required. A mini-ceilidh was taught and called by our Glaswegian friend, Martin, and his Explorer Young Leader daughter – cheers tae yous two.

Feast your eyes on your cubs enjoying their northern neighbour’s custom:

Tutorials from a 62nd Scout Group Young Leader and her Glaswegian dad
The first dance was the Virginia Reel
The Virginia Reel to an untraditional tune
The sounds of Scotland accompanying a Canadian Barndance.

After the dancing, there was a short break either making Scottish Bunting or decorating and colouring the Selkirk Grace, a traditional prayer of blessing over the Scottish fare to be eaten later. In time, the haggis arrives, escorted by the pipes, presented at table and then ‘cut up’ in the reading of the Burns poem Address to the Haggis.

The piper leads the haggis to table, where it is presented to the cubs and the wafting aroma teases the taste buds.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Haggis, neeps and tatties were served, with a vegetarian alternative haggis for comparison. The cubs received their Scottish fayre with mixed acclaim!

Up-skilling the Cubs!

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Last night the 167th Cub Pack had a chance to learn a new sport and practice a few new skills toward their Our Skills Challenge Award – this completed the award for three of them! Lots are very close to completion. Here following is a little snapshot of the badminton, ironing, shoe polishing, lightbulb changing and sewing!

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Cubs have a blast of a time with a Brunel Box

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Brunel’s Blast-Off Box

Last night the cubs borrowed a fantastic chest of activities from the SS Great Britain’s Brunel Loan Boxes.

Following the excellent instructions in the box the cubs rolled, glued, decorated and equipped a paper tube with a nose cone and some flights. They named their rockets and prepared them for launch.

In the treasure chest of a loan box was the launch tube sitting atop a pressure chamber. Once the device was pumped to between 1 and 2 bar pressure, the leaders checked the area was clear and charged the valve release and then the cubs yelled out their 3, 2, 1, Blast-Off!

Continue ‘reading’ to see a select few videos.

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Cubs create natural artwork

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Self-Portraits, Mud Monsters or the Spirits of the Trees – you choose your interpretation!

Last night the cub pack enjoyed a dusky evening in the woods of Ashton Court creating artwork out of the natural supplies beneath the tree canopy. If you’re quick you might be able to find some here before the rain washes them away:

September 2021 Cup Pack Camp

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What an amazing weekend – the first camp since covid struck. We were blessed with a wonderful weekend of bright weather, beautiful countryside, fantastic camp smells and fun activities.

We achieved:

  • The most adventurous Night Hike that we have done in living memory. The trial went cold in the middle of a steep sided stream. We were imagining the headlines “Cubs stranded in ditch 3m from public footpath!” We saw bats, stars and the warming glow of Bristol on the way back
  • Pioneering, Rope Making, Countryside Code Learning, Archery and Wide Games filled the afternoon
  • Supper was cooked over open fires
  • Campfire marshmallows were toasted and a scary story enjoyed
  • There was a surprise visit from Sandy the European Kestrel and falconer Tom
  • We walked to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm for a day of fun, mazes and wild creatures

Cubs Number Hunt, Bridge Hike and It’s a Knockout!

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Just a few little photos from the last three weeks!

Thank you to Colonel Hathi for designing the many-times-postponed Number Hunt! The Cubs followed compass bearings around the area looking for clues that would lead them to a number. Lots of fun.

Thank you to Bagheera for leading our Hike the Bridge. We made it about three quarters of the way across in the time we had available. Some cubs had to overcome a fear of heights. All cubs seemed to enjoy themselves even though they got soaked!

Thank you to the whole team and a parent for helping with this week. Raksha engineered an amazing It’s a Knockout competition which was thoroughly enjoyed. Chil and Baloo provided the victuals for a delicious BBQ! Meat from Lower Failand Organic Farm and Molesworths Butchers. Veggies from Lloyds.

Cubs go cycling!

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The pack enjoyed a lovely sunny evening cycle ride through Ashton Court and along Festival Way.

A large group of the pack formed a fast moving peloton reaching in to the heart of Long Ashton while a more cautious team built their confidence greatly whilst overcoming hills, nettles and various bicycle malfunctions!

Bicycles help social distancing for the team briefing!

Many thanks to our cycle expert, Bagheera, for planning and leading the evening and to the Parent Helpers that joined us to help with supervision.

Cubs enjoy the Time on the Water!

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Last night our cub pack enjoyed a few hours of delightful summer sun, fun & silliness in the harbour.

Cubs started off by getting themselves equipped and moving the vessels to the water. After a short tutorial from the staff at All Aboard Watersports, they set off – voyaging downwind and up the harbour for a while. While the sailing dinghys played games outside the Cottage Inn, the stand up paddleboards and kayaks ‘fell’ in Cumberland Basin and warmed up with a bit of racing!

Here are a selection of the pictures for your enjoyment.