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Pioneers raised the standard.

IT IS impossible to say with absolute certainty which was the first Scout Troop to be formed - the movement developed in such a frenzy in its first days because everybody wanted to be associated with the national hero - that the first few registrations were probably separated only by minutes.

Mrs EK Wade, for many years Baden-Powell's secretary, records the first troop that he visited: "The question as to which was actually the first troop of Scouts to be formed - excluding, of course, the Brownsea Island Troop - is one which has often been raised in the movement.

"I should not like to say definitely that this honour belongs to any troop, though many have claimed it. The first troop, however, which the Chief Scout notes in his diary as having been inspected by himself was at Sunderland.

"On February 22, 1908, he notes in his diary: 'Inspected Boy Scouts at Sunderland'. This troop became known as 'Vaux's Own', after its co-founder."

Captain Ernest Vaux (son of Vaux brewery's founder, Cuthbert Vaux) served in the Boer War in an artillery detachment from Sunderland where they used The Maxim, the world's first self-powered automatic machine gun. Vaux's most famous beer, Double Maxim Brown Ale, was named in its honour.

Ernest Vaux was to serve as a colonel in the First World War and become well known as a philanthropist, but through his friendship with Lord Baden-Powell he was influential in the foundation of the Boy Scout movement.

Baden-Powell had discussed his ideas with Vaux while staying with him in 1908. The result was Sunderland's Lampton Street Troupe - Vaux's Own.

Its Scoutmaster noted: "In February 1908 Lt Gen Baden-Powell discussed his early dream of the formation of the Boy Scout Movement with Col Ernest Vaux, with whom he was staying at his residence at Grindon, near Sunderland.

Colonel Vaux drew the general's attention to work amongst boys already carried out by the Sunderland Waifs' Rescue Agency and Street Vendors Club and induced him to pay us a visit.

"This visit was the beginning of our Scouts in Sunderland. Members of the Sunderland Waifs' Rescue Agency and Street Vendors Club at first enrolled 'to be made into Scouts under the Superintendent of this Agency, Mr Jas A Smith."

Jeff Ledger, district commissioner for Sunderland Scouts, is proud of the city's pioneering spirit. He says: "The group is still in existence today.

"A hundred years on, Baden-Powell could come back and see that very little has changed. The core values of Scouting, the outdoor activities and community commitment are still in action. Only the 'packaging' has changed - the uniform and the badges - but the offer is the same."

Famous Scouts

Richard Hammond, television presenter

Andy Murray, tennis player

Jarvis Cocker, singer

Stephen Spielberg, film director

David Bellamy, naturalist

Peter Mandelson, British Commissioner of the European Union for Trade

Chris Tarrant, television presenter

Jeremy Paxman, jour nalist

Jamie Oliver, restaurateur

Graham Norton, television presenter

David Lammy, minister for Skills in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Ken Dodd, comedian

David Hockney, artist

Neil Armstrong, astronaut (10 of the first 11 men to set foot on the Moon had been Scouts)

Jacques Chirac, former French President

Harrison Ford, actor

Tony Blair, former prime minister and special envoy for peace in the Middle East

Richard Branson, entrepreneur


BADGE OF FAME: Clockwise from above, former Scouts Jamie Oliver, David Bellamy, Peter Mandelson, Jarvis Cocker and Andy Murray.
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 31, 2007
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