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Robert (Bob) Jack

10 April 2019

Bob Jack

A First Cuffley Scout and Venture Scout leader

Robert Jack, also known as “Robin” or “Bob.” was brought up in Prestonpans, East Lothian. He initially joined scouting as a Wolf Cub and in his early years progressed through Scouts, Rover Scouts and served as a Wolf Cub leader.

Through this experience he developed and told a variety of stories that were loved by the many young people he engaged with. This included two ghost stories from hikes in the Lammermuir hills. One was about an optical illusion caused by a sheep, a rock, and a trick of the light. The other, a genuine paranormal encounter, he recalled from when the troop were sleeping in an old house;  A woman walked between the rows of sleeping scouts and exited via the French windows without opening them first! He also told many other tales, including the accidental feeding of a big worm to a party of VIPs, and his patrol going to sleep halfway up a hill, and waking in the morning at the bottom by a reservoir, having slid down in their sleep!

Bob was presented with the Kings Scout Award in 1951.

After National service, he moved south to London, met and married Margaret Teasell and bought a house in Warwick Avenue, Cuffley. A few years on and, prompted by his sons Iain and Andy, Bob became the 1st Cuffley Scout Leader. As leader he ran a substantial number of camps and trips to the hills and this account gives a flavour for the rich scouting programme he provided:

“With the Scouts, we had a Summer Camp at Boar’s Hill where we roasted a pig over a fire and spent time building pioneering projects and canoeing.  An adventurous attempt on part of the Pennine Way with the older scouts was initially rained off. However, we survived and were finally able to head back to the main summer camp site to dry out! We then carried on as two groups, in better weather.  The party led by Bob used village shops to supplement their rations. The other group weren’t happy when they found out, as they had avoided buying extra grub, but had lost part of their food supply!”

When Bob was Scout Leader the Cuffley Venture Scout Unit had lapsed, as members had left for college, university, or work. Bob restarted it, initially as a joint unit with the Ranger Guides. This gradually moved to being a mixed joint unit, having female Ventures, as well as Rangers, then eventually it became a mixed Venture unit, as the Girl Guide Association rules in force at the time made mixed gender expeditions difficult.

 

With the Venture Scouts, there were several memorable expeditions, part funded by fundraising efforts collecting scrap. One was to West Germany in the Group’s old transit mini-bus. The members spent one week on a Scout campsite, hiking in the forest amongst thunderstorms and enjoying the singing of the German scouts shared the site. The second week was in a hut in the hills memorable for the smelly pit latrine, and a hut custodian who wouldn’t stop talking about the war.

Another was to France, with an intention to climb one of the Alps and a visit to Switzerland where the Ventures visited The World Scout Bureau and took part in water activities.

When in the UK, the Venture Scout Unit made many trips to mountains, had a summer camp on two narrowboats, and took part in many county activities, including several peak assaults.”

Fuelled by his passion for Scouting, Bob opened his own shop, Base Camp, in Cheshunt, selling camping and mountaineering equipment. This excellent shop, which was used and loved by many North London and South Hertfordshire Scout groups, took a great deal of time to manage so, to ensure its success, he finally handed-on the Venture Unit leadership to others.

Bob passed away in April 2019.

 

 

 

 

 



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