Scouts return to city centre after 44 years

The Rector of St Augustine's Church, Rev Malcolm Ferry, holds the flag of First Londonderry Scout Troop, which was based at 'the Wee Church on the Walls' until 1972.
The Rector of St Augustine's Church, Rev Malcolm Ferry, holds the flag of First Londonderry Scout Troop, which was based at 'the Wee Church on the Walls' until 1972.

Scouts have returned to Derry’s city centre 44 years after the last set of cubs were disbanded due to the Troubles.

Around 30 boys and girls attended the first formal meeting of the new St Augustine’s Cub Pack in the church hall on Palace Street on Tuesday.

St Augustine’s was formerly home to ‘First Londonderry Scout Troop’, which ceased operating in 1972 because of the security situation in the city.

The Rector of St Augustine’s, Rev Malcolm Ferry, says the church is delighted to be hosting scouts again.

He said: “We have been amazed by the enthusiasm for our new cub pack. We already have four volunteer leaders who will oversee the new group of 30, and we’re eager to gain even more recruits – boys and girls – from the whole community.”

Joan Reid, of Scouts NI, said: “We are delighted and excited to be breathing new life and energy into Scouting in St Augustine’s, especially in this year when Cub Scouts celebrate their 100th birthday. This is a super opportunity for young people aged 8 and a half to 10 and a half to join in fun and challenging activities, unique experiences, everyday adventure and have the chance to help others so that we make a positive impact in the city.”

Rev Ferry says the ‘Wee Church’ on the Walls is starting off with a cub pack but plans to form a beaver pack in the near future, for six to eight year olds, and also a scout troop for older children in the not too distant future.

“I’m a Boys Brigade ‘old boy’, myself,” the Rector says, “but I appreciate the huge opportunity that scouting presents and the enormous benefits it can bring to young people in our community nowadays.”

A formal investiture ceremony for members of the new cub pack is planned for St Augustine’s next month.