Twenty years ago in Sheringham
In September 1989, in St Nicholas' Nursing Home, Sheringham, an old lady of 96 passed away.
Probably no-one in the home realised, for she was not one to brag, that she was one of the pioneer members of the Scout Movement, who had been personally summoned by Baden Powell to come to London and help set up the Wolf Cub section of the movement.
Vera Barclay had become involved in scouting during its very infancy. A vicar's daughter from Hertfordshire, she had set up a Scout Troop in her father's parish before and into the First World War whilst at the same time serving as a VAD. For an idea of how intrepid she was, at the age of nineteen she was one of the first women to ride the full length of the Cresta Run.
When Baden Powell sent for her in June 1916, she did not suspect that he would ask her to help him draft the Wolf Cub Handbook and set up Cub Packs all over England. At that time, she had viewed the cubs as being rather a nuisance, but after becoming an Akela in Pimlico, she was quite won over by the little Cockney sparrows and devoted the next years of her life to them.
Her Norfolk connections began with family holidays spent at the Corner House, Overstrand (now the Danum House B&B) which her mother, the highly successful novelist, Florence Barclay, had bought.
Her sister Muriel lived at the Gatehouse on the corner of Common Lane & Havelock Road, Sheringham for many years. Vera Barclay's niece, Muriel's daughter, Mary Hyslop, will be well remembered as she worked as a midwife in Cromer.
After some years in Birmingham running cub and scout groups, Vera Barclay moved to Switzerland where she continued a successful writing career. Over her life, she wrote nearly 50 books, on subjects such as scouting, natural history and the Turin Shroud. Probably the best known was her "Jane" schoolgirl series for children.
At the end of her life, she was looked after in Sheringham by a devoted niece, Betty Ross née Barker and her husband Peter, in a house on St. Austin's Grove.
Her grave is in Sheringham Cemetery. Her memory was honoured on the First Day Cover for the Scouting Centenary in 2007 and on the web, sites to her memory can be found in places as far afield as Italy and Chile, where her irreplaceable contribution to scouting is commemorated.
If any local residents have memories of her, which they might wish to communicate, Sheringham paper will be pleased to send them on to a researcher in France who is currently preparing a study on Vera Barclay.
NEW ENGINEERING MANAGER FOR POPPY LINE
The North Norfolk Railway has appointed production engineer Harvey Smith as Engineering Manager in charge of the railway's extensive workshops at Weybourne. Harvey's career began at the well-known Norwich firm of Laurence, Scott & Electromotors, where he worked on nuclear and military projects before being appointed as assembly manager on large rotating machines and generators. Then after a two-year stint in the road safety equipment industry, he became production manager at Lignacite in Brandon, where he introduced start-of-the-art robotics to the concrete products industry. Harvey told us he's never really wanted to do anything other than engineering - unless the entry requirements for an astronaut suddenly get downgraded! "If it moves under power, then I'm happy," he says. "I feel very fortunate that I'm now surrounded by loads of new (old!) toys. What more could a boy ask for?"
North Norfolk Photographic Society
A Tour de Force from the Yorkshire Duo
North Norfolk Photographic Society (NoNoPS) entertained - or rather were entertained by - husband and wife team Marjory and Tony Furmston on Wednesday, 23rd September. It is fair to say that Marjory and Tony, who are both Fellows of the Royal Photographic Society, are very Yorkshire and absolutely irrepressible. Marjory - who has a lovely and lively sense of humour - does most of the talking, and the photographs they showed went from the gorgeous to the quirky, with all stops in between.
The Furmstons had a dual purpose in visiting us: they are regular visitors to the North Norfolk Railway's 40's weekend which had been a couple of days before. And they dress the part as shown in the accompanying photograph. Complete with period camera, of course! The next meeting of the Society will be on Wednesday 7th October at Loades Hall, Holt at 7.30 pm when member John Cucksey (who is also a FRPS) will talk to Members and visitors and show some of his photographs. Visitors will be very welcome
A Special One of our Own
On Wednesday, 7th October John Cucksey showed members of North Norfolk Photographic Society (NoNoPS) some of his prints, slides and digital photographs. John has been an eminent Member of NoNoPS for some years and is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS) as well as being on the Committee of the RPS Travel Group. So it goes without saying that many of the superb images displayed were of far-off lands ranging from Germany to Africa and to the Falklands. The next meeting of the Society will be on Wednesday 22nd October at Loades Hall, Holt at 7.30 pm when the clubs Summer Cup competition will be judged by the charismatic Jim Till from Brancaster. Visitors will be very welcome. Further details of the Societys activities and examples of members photographs can be found at www.nonops.org, the Societys website - or phone the Hon. Secretary Judy Knights on 01263 825418.