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Downham Market Scouts group in need of support for kayaking challenge to help replace kit in time for Jamboree





A Scout group is calling for support for a fundraising kayaking challenge which will help replace kit ruined by heavy winds last week.

Having raised enough funds to get the 1st Downham Market Scouts unit to the Essex International Jamboree - a huge celebration of Girlguiding and Scouting - this summer, the group’s leaders were devastated to find that some of their tents were left unusable.

That was because the “tired and old” mess tent and some camping tents were lost to the “horrific” weather conditions when they were being prepared ahead of a district Scout camp at Sandringham at the weekend.

A group from 1st Downham Market Scouts will be taking on a 10-mile kayaking challenge this weekend
A group from 1st Downham Market Scouts will be taking on a 10-mile kayaking challenge this weekend

Scout leader Jess Sanderson said: “We were starting with old kit and it didn’t survive.”

She said while the district camp - which saw around 15 units enjoy water activities, climbing walls, shooting and more - was “absolutely amazing”, the leaders had to “muddle through” to make sure their youngsters didn’t miss out.

“The mess tent must’ve been about 15 years old. We put it up and it looks like something out of the 70s,” Jess said.

“We have been a really small group for a long time, but we are in a fabulous position now as we have got a lot of strong leaders.

“We want to do group camps, but our kit doesn’t stand up to it. It has been an underfunded group for a long time.”

The group had been using kit that some of the other units used to have before it was wrecked by the windy weather, which Jess said was “embarrassing”.

They still managed to enjoy the district camp though, as they “begged and borrowed” tents from leaders and parents.

“What was really nice was we made it there. On the Friday morning, we said ‘can we run the camp’ and we did it - we made it work,” Jess said.

“It was brilliant, I was so pleased we did.”

The 1st Downham Market Scouts were already fundraising to help them cover the costs of getting the group to the Jamboree before more of their kit became unusable.

The children raised £1,000 - but now the goal has been increased to £5,000.

Jess said: “We are now in a position to get the children there and buy food, but we can’t actually cook it.

“We increased our goal to £5,000 to get us a mess tent and we need new cooking equipment.”

While the Scout leader said they could “struggle through” without the latter, they need a new mess tent - otherwise the children will have a “miserable” time at the Jamboree, taking place in late July and early August.

“We can put them under dome shelters but it’s not right, it’s not what we should be providing for them - we need to fix it,” she said.

To support this goal, a group of the Scouts and leaders will be taking on a 10-mile kayaking challenge from Lynn to Downham on Sunday, with support from the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club - members of which have taught the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers on the water before.

It is a challenge which will take the 10 to 13-year-olds out of their comfort zone - something they have been preparing for with practice runs.

“It will allow them to think they can do big things,” Jess said.

“This is a real challenge for them and they are just embracing it and loving it. They will feel such a sense of achievement at the end.”

Asked what it would mean for people to show their support, Jess said: “Within the sections at the moment, we have got 16 Beavers, 22 Cubs and 20 Scouts - and young people on the waiting lists as well.

“The experiences we can give them with the right kit are huge.”

She added: “We can just continue to do these activities for years and years to come.”

To support the group’s fundraising, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Downham-Scouts/

Got a story for the Lynn News? Email newsdesk@lynnnews.co.uk



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