2000 – Present

In February 2000, the Cub Pack got a new parent helper when Val Youles moved into the North East. Eight months later Val made it permanent when she took out a warrant as an Assistant Cub Leader.

In August 2000, Nicola Dale returned and took over as Beaver Leader again when her husband Michael left the army. Lesley became an Assistant Beaver Leader, and Michael returned to the Scout Troop as an Assistant Leader. Towards the end of the year the Group got another Beaver Helper when Michelle Haw moved into the area and started coming to the Colony, but also lost a leader when Paul Rogers left the Troop after 21 years.

2002 saw another wedding in the Group when Dudley Rogers and Val Youles were married. During a chat with Mike Pearson, who was now District Commissioner, at a Gang Show rehearsal, Michael Dale took on the extra role of District Press and PR officer as well as helping at the Troop.

January 2003 saw Michael Dale take over as the Scout Leader, with Mick Barber and Paul Rogers as Assistant Leaders. Dudley Rogers helped at the Troop along with long term Scout Instructor Lee Wilkinson. Over the next few months Deborah Hull started coming to Beavers as a parent helper when her son joined the Colony.

The District officially launched a new section to replace the Venture Scouts on the 7th of June 2003. The newly formed Explorer Scouts were to be run at District level, and it was proposed there would be three units, one of which was to be based at our HQ. Dudley Rogers added this to his list of achievements and started to run the Coast unit, which he did for a few months until a permanent leader was found.

That month also saw a movement in the Group when Phillip Rose changed from being the Cub Leader to an Assistant Cub Leader and Liz Gallaghar went from being an Assistant Beaver Leader to being the Cub Leader.

Towards the end of 2003, Michael Dale started to research the Group’s history. As time went on the job started to involve all of the Group’s leaders and quite a few former ones. Articles were put in the local newspapers and on the Group’s website resulting in a lot of former Scouts getting in touch.

In September 2004, Val Rogers took over as the Cub Leader, with Gordon Harrison as Assistant Leader. Liz left the Pack and Dudley started helping on a regular basis at Cubs as well as Scouts and Explorers.

In January 2005, the leaders started to plan a celebration for the 90th anniversary. To help commemorate the occasion, it was decided to apply to get a badge made for the back of the neckerchief. Ideas for the design and the colours were discussed over a number of months and eventually, Michael Dale brought a design, made on the computer, comprising of a silhouette of the Preston colliery pit head, with the 1915 start date underneath set on the Group’s colours. The design was agreed on and the badges were sent to a company for production.

In March 2005, Helen Baldwin started at the Cub Pack as a parent helper and in April 2005 the Group took it’s turn to organise the District St. Georges day parade. The service was presided over by former Ritson’s Scout, the Reverend Cannon Jim Robertson, Area Dean for Tynemouth while Leaders, Cubs and Scouts read prayers and the sectional laws.

On Saturday 14th May 2005, the Group held an open day to celebrate the 90th anniversary of it’s formation. A display of memorabilia from the Group’s history was put out and the new Group badge was officially launched, with it being worn on the neckerchief for the first time.

The day was well attended by former Group members and supporters including the now famous Adrian Nichol and the celebrations went on into the evening. Gordon Harrison and Michelle Haw even made a special cake which Lesley Harrison decorated with the new Group badge.

In the summer of 2006 the group got a new parent helper in the Beaver section when Cecilia Owen happened to mention one evening she would like to help occasionally.

2007 was the centenary of Scouting and the Group played it’s part in the District celebrations by attending the Scouting Sunrise at Tynemouth Priory and the District camp at Beanley near Powburn.

In October 2007 the Beaver’s got another new helper when Lizzie Lennox, sister of one of the Cubs, started helping after her family took part in a bag pack to raise funds.

The Guild continued to support the Group, not only by attending events, but also by a number of donations to help maintain the headquarters. This was particularly helpful when local vandals broke the hand rail off the steps to the Venture unit, causing over £1000 worth of damage the handrail, the steps themselves and the unit wall.

The repairs were made thanks to the help of the guild, both in helping raise the money but also by Mike Pearson actually getting the repairs done for us and then getting the stairs fenced in to try and stop further damage being done.

Further donations were made by the Guild which resulted in two new signs for the Group headquarters being made. Michael Dale produced a number of designs which were voted on at a Group executive committee meeting in March 2008.

On Saturday 17th May 2008 the Leaders hosted a “Ritson’s Guild thank you tea” at the headquarters. It had been organised by the Beaver Leaders, Nicola Dale, Deborah Hull and Cecilia Owen as a way of saying thank you for all the help the Guild has given the Group over the years.

The Cubs got a new parent helper in November 2008 when Maura Craven, parent of one of the Cubs, helped out at the Gang Show and then stayed on to help with the Pack.

In the course of 2008 Michael and Nicola Dale started actively researching the Group’s history again. They made numerous visits to the news paper archives at North Shields library and the Tyne and Wear archives in Newcastle as well as trawling other sources of information such as the internet, sending letters to museums.

As part of the remembrance day activities they decided to find George Greenacre’s grave in Preston cemetery so the Scouts could place a poppy cross on it. They struggled to locate the grave and eventually, after many trips to the library and the cemetery office they discovered the grave was unmarked.

Following discussions at the Group executive committee meeting in late 2008 Michael contacted George’s son, Leslie Greenacre and after gaining his permission the decision was made to get a marker for the grave which would be placed at the Group’s next anniversary.

In April 2009 Siobhan Brennan joined the Group when she started helping at the Beaver Colony.

On Saturday 16th May 2009 the marker was placed on George Greenacre’s grave on the the Group’s 94th anniversary. The dedication was presided over by former Ritson’s Scout Leader, the Reverend Cannon Jim Robertson, Area Dean for Tynemouth.