Contacting R.A.F. Hendon Museum to see if a visit by Leicestershire Cub Scouts would be O.K. and explaining that last year’s County trip numbers were approx. 900, there was a slight pause, an audible gulp and then a ‘yes off course we would love for you to come’.
So – Saturday morning, 5th March saw 22 coaches varying from minibus size to100 seater’s, plus 1 emergency car, made for the M1 from all corners of the county. Numbers – well we outdid last year, final total was approx. 1100, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts, Leaders and Parents.
Following a phone call, the emergency car had to make a charity shop swoop. A bemused sales assistant (who probably things that all cub leaders are mad) on hearing that we needed ‘ a change of clothes, for a, small for her age 8 year old young lady, who was traveling down from Leicester on a coach and had unfortunately been very sick’, managed to kit us out with what we needed. The Market Harborough ADC on the coach had to stop at the motorway services in order to clean up the coach. She was helped out by a Polish cleaner at the services who is now going to make sure his children are reunited with a scout group in this country!
Right from the start, the museum was keen to make sure our day with them was a success. They provided timetables for each District so that an organized flow around the museum was successfully achieved. The Scout Association already liaise with Hendon, so that the Beavers, Cubs & Scouts can complete their Air Activities Badges and work sheets are available on line. Many of our party took advantage of this and so the scene was set for keen youngsters to learn as they went around the many exhibits and helped to prevent the usual rush from one thing to another without really seeing what was there!
A lunchroom was provided for us away from the general public (which at times looked a bit like a rummage sale), meaning we didn’t need to lug bags and coats around with us all day.
he probably had a rather sore hand by the end of the afternoon!
Another activity provided was the opportunity to ‘dress up’ in an RAF uniform – leaders included! This proved very popular and following photos, our youngsters were ‘drilled’ by the airmen.
The assimilators were also kept busy and a special discount especially for us was much appreciated. Muted screams of delight, or was that fear could be heard all day.
A member of the public told a leader that it was really good to see The Scout Association out in force and as far as I know our youngsters were very well behaved.
Once we had managed to clear the queues in the gift shop, there followed a staggered exit to the coaches, with Loughborough District stopping to take a’ whole group’ photo, and the return journey back up the motorway to Leicester got underway with everyone arriving safely back home.
Now – I have received thanks from many people for organizing the day – but really folks, it was the ADC’s that organized your coaches, Hendon who organized the day at the museum, Dave Mason who ordered air badges – and hid ever time I went into the Equipment Store in search of more, Lesley Mitchell who sorted Wannado Badges, the many leaders and parents who looked after our youngsters, so Thank You to all of YOU.
If you haven’t visited R.A.F. Hendon Museum, it is well worth a day out. A friendly (free), museum where you can get up close to the exhibits