St. Mary's Church, Woodbridge
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Campfire in St. Mary's Church

On 9th December, I was able to join the first Deben District Beavers’ Campfire at St Mary’s Church, Woodbridge. This had been organised by Helena Mecrow, District Beaver Leader, and the Assistant Priest, John Hare - himself a former Scout! The Mayor of Woodbridge, Mr Les Binns and his wife, and the County and District Scouting Commissioners were in attendance.

Over 130 Beaver Scouts and Leaders from nine groups in Deben District, ranging from areas such as Westerfield, Earl Soham, Otley, Martlesham, Kesgrave, Framlingham etc. plus parents and supporters, filled the pews. There was an excited ‘buzz’ from children and adults alike!

Each Beaver Colony brought their flag along to go in the flag stand. The youngsters settled around a central ‘camp fire’, with their torches/lanterns and the evening began, enthusiastically led by John Hare. Leaders led the singing around the camp fire and parents and friends joined in.

The Christmas story was told in an illustrative way, where several colonies had brought along and assembled their ‘props’ such as shepherds, sheep, 3 wise men etc, previously made in their meetings telling ‘their’ part of the story.

This I felt, was at the right level for the Beaver age group (6-8 yr olds) and the fact they could be active, following John around to the different ‘stations’, held their interest.

Of course the absolute highlight for EVERYBODY was undoubtedly the presence of the lovely calm donkey carrying Beaver ‘Mary’ accompanied by Beaver ‘Joseph’. Many passers-by were intrigued by the festive ‘sea of lights’ around the churchyard as the procession of 100+ young children aglow with lanterns/torches and glowsticks. It is a tribute to the organisers for having such an innovative idea.

The 45 minute event was just about the right length and content for this age group. This certainly satisfied the spiritual element of Scouting and how lovely for the whole district Beavers to meet together and share this. I was thrilled to be there and hope something like this will continue in the future.

Joan Gibson
1st Westerfield Scout Group
Deben District