History of Guiding in Stone
Jose’s Guiding Life
(Taken from “Guiding In Stone” 1915-2000 Updated for 5th February 2005)
A new Brownie pack was opened in Oulton and Jose was invited to join as she was 7years of age. She was enrolled on 1st February 1926 and has remained active since that date “79”years, Stone’s longest serving member.
She remembers fondly being transported in a Bakers van to the meetings and then having to walk home afterwards. Picnic’s in Brown Owls wonderful garden were a highlight of her time in Brownies together with Brownie Revels held at St Joseph's Hall.
On 21st May 1931 Jose was enrolled as a Guide in the 1st Oulton Company. This sadly closed in 1933 and she transferred to 3rd Stone Christchurch Company. She continued in the Guide Company until moving into 3rd Stone Rangers in 1934.
During the time spent with the Rangers she took part in several memorable events.
During 1935 she travelled with them to Magilligan Bay, County Antrim, Northern Ireland to a camp site by the sea. They had a wonderful time, walking on the Giants Causeway and through Glanariff Glen. They enjoyed visits to Belfast and Londonderry.
She joined hundreds of members in 1936 to welcome the Chief Guide at a Rally in Wolverhampton and to a Coronation Rally at Wembley Stadium in 1937. Also in 1938 she was present at a County camp when Princess Mary visited.
1939 saw the outbreak of the Second World War, all meeting rooms in Stone were commandeered by the army. The Rangers were asked to help with the assembly of gas masks at the Council Offices. Jose joined the A.R.P’s and first aid classes in Oulton Village Hall.
It was possible in 1943 to re-open the Oulton Brownie Pack, and she became Brown Owl a position she held until 1966.
One of 1st Oulton’s special events started by Jose in 1948 was the annual crowning of the “Rose Queen”. It became the highlight of the year and is still talked about today. It was held in the vicarage garden and if wet in the Village Hall. The Brownies and Guides together with younger sisters and friends enjoyed dressing up and parading through the village. After the crowning ceremony and dances a play was performed “The story of Stone”, “Pageant of Guiding” and “Festival of the Lakes” to name but a few. In 1976 Mrs Gilbert Harris the Brown Owl from fifty years ago performed the opening ceremony also present were four ladies who had been enrolled as Brownies in 1926.
As with many dedicated Guiders one job was not enough and she took it upon herself to open and run the Guide Company at Oulton from 1945 to 1956, she also acted as District Guide Captain between 1962 and 1966.
It was time for a change and a move away from the Oulton groups in 1966 when Jose took up the position of District Commissioner for Stone Central and she held that appointment until the end of 1968.
Everyone in the Division got to know Jose very well indeed when she became Division Badge Secretary in 1969. All Guiders would order from her and call in to collect and pay for badges which their girls had gained. She kept records of all badges gained and was able to produce annual records of badges which companies and packs had worked for. Jose provided this service for the Division for 13 years so she knew everyone.
Whilst being Badge Secretary Jose was asked to become the Division Registration Secretary which she did for 25 continuous years. This involved processing all the warrants for leaders and registration of the units. By far the most difficult part of this role was the annual census; she had to collate all the figures produced from the Districts and enter them onto Division sheets for the County. It is interesting to note the membership figures for 1972 were 459 and the monies collected £178 as against those for 1997 620 members, £4,464 the year she retired from that post.
As a way of thanking Jose for her tremendous commitment she was made a County Vice President in 1991 and was honored in 1996 as she completed 70 years of service to receive the Staffordshire County Award (the first to be presented in the County).
Looking back over 70 years Jose says she is very thankful for that invitation to a very shy little girl to join Oulton Brownies. She is also grateful for the opportunity to help and encourage children through the years to enjoy Guiding, and for the many friends she has made. Changes that have impressed Jose are the opportunity created for International travel, it is a wonderful experience. The advent of the Rainbow section has given the younger girls the chance to be part of the Guiding family at the earliest opportunity which she fully supports.
Today Jose’s is currently a Trefoil Guild member and has been instrumental and supportive in the reopening of our Rainbow and Brownie units meeting at the Church Hall. It was very important to her that we had Girlguiding available to the children of Oulton. She is a regular visitor to the units and we all continue to learn so much from her.
José’s was very involved in the writing of our book, “Guiding in Stone” published in 2000. We would have been short of so much information had it not been for the records that she has kept so meticulously over her life time.
Guiding is indebted to Jose’ and we thank and congratulate her on yet another landmark in her remarkable life.
Stone Outward Division
5th February 2005