It’s donkey time again

2019 Donkey Derby PosterYes, believe it or not, Eling Sea Scouts’ Donkey Derby will soon be here.  Please make a note in your diary for 1pm Saturday 18th May-  a family fun day not to be missed, now in its 24th year.

This is the main fundraising event for the group, and helps us provide skills for life, challenge and adventure for over 120 local youngsters, as well as maintaining our Aquativity Centre at Testwood Lakes, which is shared with Sailability, who train disabled people to get out on the water.

Entry is £1.50 on the day, but buy a programme from local sellers before the event and you will only have to pay £1.  To add to your fun for the day, why not sponsor a donkey for as little as £10?  You will be able to name the donkey, you will be credited in the programme and could win the prestigious owner’s trophy.  You can also nominate a child between 9 and 14 years and under 50 kilos to ride your donkey.  Please complete the sponsorship form  and return it to as soon as possible to secure your sponsorship.

It takes a lot of effort to put on this event each year and we’d like to thank the team of parents and supporters who ensure that Totton gets to enjoy the day each year.  We are now looking for people to join our fundraisers, including a chairperson to lead the team.  Full details of what is involved can be found here.


Cubs having an abbey time

As part of their World Challenge and World Faiths badges the Cubs recently had a look behind the scenes of the 1000 year old Romsey Abbey.  Volunteers were on hand to explain the long and fascinating history of the church – the largest Parish Church in Hampshire – and they were able to visit the bell tower.  But the highlight was the chance to ring the Abbey bells, which encouraged some great teamwork as you can see from the pictures. Thanks to the volunteers who gave their time to show us round and answer our many questions.


Experience of a lifetime

Sixty two Beavers from the District enjoyed an exciting sleepover in the Royal Navy’s Submarine Museum in Gosport last weekend.  Among them were five from our own Group.   They were shown around the WWII submarine, HMS Alliance, built model submarines, toured the Museum’s exhibits, watched a film and even slept on the museum floor.  “My son is just buzzing with excitement“, wrote one parent after the event, “He absolutely loved it! – an experience of a lifetime.”

Thanks to our Beaver Leaders for organising the event and looking after our young people during the event.

Skills for life

We often read in the press about young Scouts who have saved someone’s life by applying first-aid skills they have learned.  To make sure our Cubs are ready to handle those emergencies, they have recently spent an evening  practising their First Aid Skills For Life.  We can see from the picture that some of them  seemed to be enjoying the experience.


The Beavers have also been busy, taking part in the annual candlelit Christingle Service.


Hello Shipmates!

Before we start-  the pirate picture is of me, Marcus Sly, as Pirate Pete at the St. George’s parade in Lyndhurst which 4th Eling New Forest North Sea Scouts hosted. I am now six months in as your new Group Scout Leader, GSL, but the Beavers only know me as pirate Pete. Rather embarrassing in hindsight!

 Anyway, a formal welcome to 4th New Forest North (Eling) Sea Scouts. Scouting brings with it adventure, friends and learning key life skills.   For me, on a personal level, Scouting has given me memories for life.

 Recently, I did a survival weekend with the older Sea Scouts. We cooked on open fires, slept under the stars and eat rabbit and fish. I remember doing this as a Scout myself a long time ago and the memories still make me smile. Great memories as a Scout and now an adult volunteer, I feel pretty lucky.

 My background is a Cub, Scout, an Explorer (we use to be called Venture scouts in the 1980’s; with little health & safety to consider), and then an adult volunteer with Gosport before joining the Royal Navy.  I had to leave Scouting to go sailing the seven seas.  I am now a Sales Director for a blue chip company and my hobbies include dingy and yacht sailing.  Five years ago I felt I should give something back to society and with my love of the water I decided to meet up with the local Sea Scout group. This year I agreed to run the group as the GSL and I love every minute of it. In those five years I have seen Beavers become Cubs, Cubs to Scouts, Scout to Explorers.  In fact, three of these Scouts back in 2013 have now become Adult volunteers themselves this year in the group.  I am very proud of them!  Believe me when I say it makes me feel old when I see the young people grow up, but the satisfaction it brings is immeasurable.

 Scouting is not just about the young people, as important are the volunteers helping in whatever capacity, uniformed and non-uniformed.  From running the Troop, to helping with water activities, to helping fund raising.  We have a great team, a great building in a great location and great Scouts. If you want to help please come forward, we can always find a role for you in Scouting, however small or large.

 I look forward to building upon what we have already but the most important thing is to do the best at everything we do and have fun along the way.



Without the help of our Leaders and Volunteers, we would not have such a strong unit and we continue to look at ways to improve what we do, improve the processes and improve the Group as a whole. Therefore, I am really pleased to announce that Donna Ovenden is standing up to the challenge to help me and Paul Bullock run the unit at group level, and with immediate effect she will be an AGSL reporting to me.  Donna continues to help with Wednesday cubs.  Donna brings with her a lot of experience in Scouting, an understanding how we can improve what we do today and a factor for me which is key; enthusiasm.

I’d also like to thank Paul Bullock who has been a steady ship in the history of the unit,  as GSL for 17 years, Group Chair and now AGSL as well.

Please support Donna as you do for myself and Paul.


Remembrance Day Parade – And The Sun Shone

The late Autumn sunlight highlighting the Group as it Parades through Totton. Photon – Michelle Fielden

So proud to see the wonderful turnout of all the sections on Sunday – it says so much about our young people who came to remember the sacrifices of others.  I’m sure it helps to make the long hours that the leaders put in to running the activities throughout the year seem worthwhile.  Thanks also to the parents for helping to make it happen.


There are always debates about whether Scouts should still dress up in smart uniforms and go on parades such as Remembrance Sunday or St George’s Day.  I think in this case the young people have voted with their feet – literally.  And it does have an impact on those watching – we started to receive enquiries about young people joining only minutes after the parade ended.

Congratulations to everyone!

Aviva Community Challenge – We Need YOUR Help

Update:  Voting is now closed!  Thanks to everyone who voted for us as we now await the results.

As you may know, we have had problems with green-blue algae on the lake for several years.  Once this blooms we have to suspend boating, missing out on the opportunity to train our young people in water sports.  To overcome this we fitted some equipment to our pontoon which kills the algae, but earlier this year it was vandalised and put out of action.  We have had the equipment repaired but it cost £1000 to fix.  We have had some private donations towards the costs of repairs, but we have now entered into the local Aviva Community Challenge to raise additional funds. Read the rest of the article …

A perfect day for sailing

A light breeze, calm waters and a warming sun.  What more could you wish for out dinghy sailing?  Over 20 scouts took to the River Test opposite Southampton Container Terminal on a Sunday morning in October, to be assessed for their RYA dinghy sailing qualifications; and the conditions were perfect.  Despite the lack of sailing practice this summer because of the algae problem at Testwood Lakes the Scouts were soon showing what they could do to  the assessors and a small group of parents and friends on the shore.

Thanks to the assessors, leaders and parents who make these events possible, and congratulations to all the Scouts who passed their assessment.

Click here for some more photos.

Beavers at Testwood Lakes

Unfortunately, not real beavers, just our Beaver Scouts taking advantage of the dry weather to explore the area around Testwood Lakes.  With around a dozen butterfly species, numerous other insects and birds such as Little Egrets to spot there was plenty for them to discover during the evening.