Oxfordshire Brownies take private train to mark centenary

Brownies on the platform at Oxford station

Brownies on the platform at Oxford station

First published in News

PLATFORM One at Oxford railway station was more crowded than ever as 420 Oxfordshire Brownies gathered to catch a private train to London.

The girls, aged six to 16, were on their way to join celebrations for their movement’s 100th anniversary this year.

About 120 uniformed girls hopped onboard a specially-commissioned train at Charlbury to be joined by 420 more at Oxford on Saturday morning.

On the way to London they decorated their six private carriages, before joining a picnic in Kensington Gardens.

Oxfordshire County Commissioner for Guiding, Andrea Oughton, said the whole idea was the brainchild of First Great Western managing director Mark Hopwood.

She said: “After 100 years we are still going from strength to strength.

“It is still very relevant to girls, it gives them opportunities to makes new friends and learn skills which will help them in future life.”

To celebrate their history, some of the girls dressed for the day out as Brownies from times gone by.

Maddy Blake, nine, of the Eighth Abingdon Brownies, tried on a uniform from the 1970s. She said: “It would be fun to go back in time and see how it really was.

“They had different badges then, and the uniforms are a lot nicer today.”

This month, Maddy’s pack have been practicing traditional Brownie skip songs.

Barton Brownies’ Little Owl, Suzi Horsley, said: “This is really exciting for our pack, because it’s the sort of thing Barton Brownies can’t normally raise funds to do. It’s a really nice way to bring all the Oxfordshire packs together.”

Barton is looking for new members. It meets every Tuesday at 6pm at St Mary’s Hall.

The Oxford Times:

Tilly Cavendish, nine

First Hanney Brownies has only been going for three years after lack of interest closed the group for nearly a decade, but now it has 20 members.

Member Tilly Cavendish, nine, pictured, said: “I like going to Brownies because you can meet up with your friends, have a lot of fun, sing songs and play games.”

The pack is also looking for new leaders.

To find out more, go to girlguiding.org.uk/brownies

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