North East England Minster Service 2017

The bi-annual York Minster Service took place on 9 December. The Minster was a blaze with all the colourful standards and lots of members.

The Theme for the service was No Place Like Home and Senior Section members narrated the nativity story set in modern times with news reporters interviewing the main characters.

The Revd Canon Shiela Bamber gave the address and the collection will be split between York Minster and Girlguiding Hurricane Irma.


Mums rated top role models in Girlguiding poll


Mums are six times more likely than female celebrities, including popstars and actresses, to land the top female role model spot a survey by Girlguiding has shown.

Well over half (58%) of the respondents who named their biggest female role model growing up rated their Mum or female guardian top, with celebrities including the often-celebrated female icons Madonna and Beyoncé coming a far second with just 10% of the vote.

When asked who their top female role model was growing up:

  • 58% of the respondents who provided an answer said mother (or female guardian) – with the 25 to 34 year old age group being the most likely to cite their Mum (65%).
  • Compared to 10% who rated a female celebrity top with  Madonna, Emma Watson and Victoria Beckham getting frequent mentions
  • 5% said a female politician inspired them with Margaret Thatcher being the most popular. Shockingly, no-one polled in the 18-24 year old age group said they looked up to a female politician compared to 8% of respondents aged 45 to 54
  • Just 4% rated a famous sportswoman top highlighting the lack of coverage and awareness about women in sport
  • Worryingly, just 2% said a famous woman working in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) was their role model and even fewer respondents could actually name a well-known female working in this field

These results chime with former Girlguiding research showing that 55% of girls feel there aren’t enough positive female role models in the media*  and highlight the massive influence Mums and female guardians have in girls’ lives.

Sara and Charlotte’s story  

Mum Sara Morgan from Northumberland opened the 1st Lowick Brownie unit in her local village as her daughter Charlotte had always wanted to be a Brownie and there were few activities on offer to young people in the area.

Sara said:  “Charlotte has always wanted to be a Brownie and I myself had been one years ago. There’s very little for the girls to do in our area so I wanted to do something that would be of value to them.

“When Charlotte found out I was opening a Brownie group, she was thrilled. She was so excited about becoming a Brownie and even more so that I would be there.

“At home, we’re always busy and don’t always get time to do the fun stuff so doing it together at Brownies is great – I get to see the enjoyment she is having first hand. I can see the pride in Charlotte’s eyes when the other girls think I’ve done something cool too!”

“I’ve done so much with Charlotte and the other Brownies from trips to the beach and the local fire station to learning first aid and going to a nearby Birds of Prey Sanctuary where we had spiders put on our heads!”

Charlotte, age 9, said: “I was very very excited when I found out Mum was going to open a Brownie group – I was very proud of her.

“It’s great because when we’re doing badges she tells me before the other Brownies what we’ll be doing and I get to share all the exciting things we do with her.”


Volunteers are the foundations of Girlguiding and mums make up the core of the volunteering community – with thousands across the country running groups with their adult daughters or opening units in new areas so their young daughters can take part.

Tewit Well Senior Section get up close and personal with Parliament


Tewit Well Senior Section pictured in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster hall the oldest part of the palace built in 1099.
They also managed to sit in the public gallery at the House of Lords and watch the Brexit debate.
Senior Section member Alicia Kernaghan commented “Our tour guide used to be the senior doorman for the House of Lords so he managed to wangle for us to watch the opening procession where they carry the mace in which visitors usually are not allowed to do.
The Houses of Parliament were surreal – we couldn’t go in the House of Commons as a debate was about to start – so they were just setting the sniffer dogs out to check no one had left bombs or anything but we got to look in. We then went up to the ‘strangers gallery’ and sat and watched the first 45 minutes of what was a very heated debate.”

On Thinking Day, the girls visited Pax Lodge to join in their celebrations.


Naming the Cancer Car

The Berwick & District Cancer Support Group was founded in 1992 by a group of people who through experience knew how difficult it was to get to main hospitals in the local area for cancer appointments (for those who don’t know where we are, our closest major hospital is almost 60 miles away). They started up in the hope that no one would ever have to worry about travelling to their appointments again. 
The group is run on a totally voluntary basis. Many of the members have experienced living alongside cancer in one way or another. All of the members are committed to keeping the service available to all who may need it. The charity has four cars which are all white therefore it is easier to give them names when allocating them to drivers for their runs.  For the latest new car the charity invited ‘Berwick Division Girl Guiding’ to vote and name the car.

On 5 February the girls, consisting of Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, members of the Senior Section and Adult Leaders from Berwick, Norham and Lowick joined us to officially name the car.  It was a division venture and everyone had a vote from a selection of names put forward.  The winner was ‘Guiding Light‘.  A great name that the charity are sure will serve them well.  To top off the event the girls also presented Berwick & District Cancer Support Group with a cheque for £55 raised from their Snowman Drive.  The charity thanked the girls for naming their new car and the continued support they give to the charity.


Anne and Laura (Berwick Division, Northumberland County)

91st Sheffield (Banner Cross) Brownie volunteers have a double celebration!

Two Sheffield Girlguiding volunteers, Mary Snape and Kathryn Warren, who both volunteer with 91st Sheffield (Banner Cross) Brownies, have been honoured for their work supporting girls and young women recently at a ceremony by Girlguiding Sheffield County Commissioner, Linda Grant, at Banner Cross Methodist Church.

Mary Snape, 26, from Ecclesall, was presented with her Queen’s Guide Award, which took three years to complete. The Queen’s Guide Award is a personal collection of challenges which must be completed before a young woman turns 26 – she managed to compete the challenges just 3 months before her birthday!img_90891

Mary, who is studying for a PhD in Physics at the University of Sheffield, selected personal challenges in fields including volunteering, social action, developing new skills and travelling to a new place.

Mary’s personal challenges included walking Hadrian’s Wall; volunteering with Sheffield Marrow, the university branch of the charity Anthony Nolan, signing potential lifesavers up to the Bone Marrow register; and organising a local Thinking Day event attended by 150 Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Senior Section members.

The Queen’s Guide Award is the highest award achievable in Girlguiding. It revolves around setting your own challenges at your own pace, and helps young women get skills for life and work.
Mary said: “Doing my Queen’s Guide has been an amazing experience. I spent a year learning Spanish and I hope to develop that skill whilst traveling after my PhD. I think the most rewarding part of the challenges has been completing my Pack Holiday License which allows me to take my Brownies on weekends away: for some of the girls it’s the first time they’ve spent a night away from home!”img_90901

Kathryn Warren, Leader of 91st Sheffield (Banner Cross) Brownies, waimg_90911 s honoured for her work supporting girls and young women over the last 40 years with a prestigious long service award.

Kathryn was presented with a specially-designed brooch in honour of her inspirational efforts at the ceremony. Kathryn, 64, first became a Brownie herself in 1959 in the 27th Sheffield (Banner Cross) Brownies and started volunteering as a helper in 1972 with the 91st Banner Cross Brownies; becoming their Leader in 1976, and has volunteered ever since – providing amazing opportunities for girls and young women.

Kathryn’s highlights during her time with Girlguiding include: The Chatsworth Camp when Lady Baden-Powell visited; visiting Hesley Woods when HM The Queen visited; the Girlguiding North East England Giggles International Camp, when Brownies camped for the first time at an International event in 2013, and renewing her Girlguiding Promise with hundreds of other Girlguiding Sheffield members, in Sheffield Peace Gardens to celebrate 100 years of Girlguiding at 20:10 20/10 2010.

Kathryn, 64, said: “I’m extremely proud to receive this award. Volunteering for Girlguiding is such a rewarding experience and it’s been wonderful to work with so many young women and girls over the years and see the difference guiding makes to their lives.

“Girlguiding opens up so many fantastic opportunities for girls to grow in confidence and become a powerful force for good in their communities. I would like to dedicate this award to all of the girls I have had the pleasure of knowing over the last 40+ years. ”

Samantha Jessop & Helen Sweeney, Sheffield County PR Advisers

Rebecca’s surprise Laurel Award Presentation


On Monday 3 October Rebecca Cook was awarded with the Laurel Award for her outstanding contribution to Girlguiding. At her normal meeting place with a full company of Brownies from 1st Rawcliffe (St. Mark’s) Brownie Unit, she was surprised by a large number of former colleagues, friends and fellow volunteers and presented with her badge, certificate and a special cake.

Rebecca said “My presentaimg_2950tion was a complete surprise and it was amazing to see so many guiding friends from around the country as well as York. I was pleased that my presentation took place at a normal Brownie meeting, so they had the opportunity to share it. I’m told they knew for 2 weeks about the presentation and they kept it a secret!

I really enjoy being involved in Girlguiding, it has given me so many opportunities to try something new on so many different occasions throughout my life. Receiving this award was a complete surprise and I am flattered that people see me in this light, however, everything I have achieved in my Guiding life has been shared in some way with other people, so a big part of this honour belongs to them too, Guiding is something you cannot do alone, it brings you lifelong friends, and being around young people definitely keeps you ‘on your toes’ and I can’t think of a better way to spend some of my time. I would always encourage more women to get involved with this style of youth work, it is very rewarding.”

Within the Region of North East England, fewer than 50 people have been presented with this award as it recognises truly outstanding commitmeimg_2948nt, achievement and contribution to Girlguiding for both girls and adults.

The Region Chief Commissioner, Alison Gordon presented Rebecca with her award, alongside the local County Commissioner, Judith Bellamy.

Alison spoke fondly of how her and Rebecca had worked together nationally on Brownie plans and congratulated her on her achievement. There were a few unexpected visitors, including Caroline Davis who gave a speech outlining Rebecca’s contributions to International guiding and to the development of Brownies nationally, including her role in planning the Big Brownie Birthday in 2014. Another special highlight from the evening was that Rebecca’s own Guide Leader from her years as a Guide came to celebrate Rebecca’s award, having travelled from Gloucestershire to join the celebrations.

Merryn Can Do Anything

Girlguiding North East England meet an inspirational Guide from Girlguiding South West England

Girlguiding North East England once again had a stand at the Great Yorkshire Show in Merryn can do anythingHarrogate this year, promoting Girlguiding and meeting members not only from our region but from across the whole of the UK.

On the Tuesday, we were delighted when Merryn Philp and her family stopped by the stand to say hello.  Merryn had travelled all the way from Cornwall to show her pigs.

Merryn who was celebrating her 13th birthday that day is a member of Tregadillett Guides which are near Launceston in Cornwall.  We decided this was too good a photo opportunity to miss and so sent Emily, one of our Senior Section members off with Merryn to visit her pigs and take a photo with our “Girls Can Do Anything” banner as Merryn really showed how true that statement was.

Merryn did incredibly well showing her pigs.  She received a 3rd for her pig that was born in January and a 5th was for her older pig, born last July. These were in the open classes and Merryn was showing in with the adults.

Showing a pigShe also took part in the young handlers class for 13 to 16 year olds. There were 13 in the class and Merryn was placed 4th, which she was delighted with, particularly as she had only been 13 the day before the competition.

Merryn’s mum said “The Pig of the Year final was a proud moment for us all, there were representatives from 14 major county shows (Merryn was representing the Royal Cornwall Show) and although Merryn and Imy (her pig) did not win the championship they certainly looked the part and enjoyed every moment!! Well worth the 8 hour journey from Cornwall!”

Well done to Merryn from all at Girlguiding North East England!

Young member from Hull Gets Up Close With Jess Glynne at BIG GIG

A young Girlguiding member from Camerton, Hull, proved her press credentials this weekend as she went backstage to interview the star acts at Girlguiding’s girl-only BIG GIG in London.

Eleanor Brewer, 21, spent the day getting the gossip from Jess, fresh from Glastonbury, as well as Fleur East, Lawson and BB Diamond at the 15th anniversary gig at the SSE Wembley Arena.

Eleanor (middle) interviewing Jess Glynne

Eleanor (middle) interviewing Jess Glynne

Eleanor, who volunteers with Girlguiding groups in the Hedon District, said: “Interviewing all the acts and hearing their advice for Guides was really inspiring.

“A few acts told me that when they were younger they were taking things too seriously. I think teens are under so much pressure today, and it was really interesting to hear the acts reflect on this.

“I’ve just finished a degree in Media, and so this has been an amazing opportunity I just couldn’t pass up!”

Eleanor (right) with Fleur East

Eleanor (right) with Fleur East

Girlguiding’s BIG GIG is an annual pop concert exclusively for girls aged 10 to 14 from all over the UK, including hundreds from the North East. Events such as the BIG GIG are possible thanks to generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

For more information about Girlguiding go to

Girlguiding Sheffield Celebrates the Queen’s Birthday

All the attendees of the picnic signed this lovely birthday card for The Queen

All the attendees of the picnic signed this lovely birthday card for The Queen

Over 400 Girlguiding members from Sheffield celebrated HRH The Queen’s birthday by attending a fun packed afternoon at Graves Park on 12 June. Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and members of The Senior Section met in Graves Park in Sheffield with their Leaders and members of the Trefoil Guild to have a picnic, do lots of fun activities, and celebrate!

Girls had their picture taken with a cut out of The Queen herself!

Girls had their picture taken with a cardboard cut out of The Queen herself!

Read more about it in The Sheffield Star

Leaders Enjoy a Visit to Killhope Mining Museum

13 Girlguiding Leaders from Durham South County have just had a lovely weekend with no particular purpose other than to meet each other and have a relaxing weekend at the yurts at Killhope mining museum in Upper Weardale.  They thought they would share this photo with us as it  shows them having fun! They are walking down Hazeley Hush which is a man made valley part of the process of seeking veins of Galena ore which contains lead.

Leaders in Hazely Hush at Killhope