Oldest brownies remember past times

LOOKING BACK: Betty Pratt and Betty Smith (7514793)

SHARED MEMORIES: Betty Pratt and Betty Smith. (7514804)

First published in News

A QUEST to find the Vale’s eldest brownie has led to the discovery of a 93-year-old former member living in a Barry residential care home.

93-year-old Betty Pratt, who lives at Orchard House, is – so far – the eldest former member to be brought to the attention of Brownie Guide leaders eager to celebrate 100 years of the Movement in style.

Division commissioner South East Glamorgan, Jayne Newcombe said the search was aimed at finding the oldest Brownie to be a guest of honour at this year’s annual Scout & Guide Fete, at Romilly Park, on Saturday, July 5.

But during the search it was also discovered that fellow resident Betty Smith, 83, had also been involved with guiding while working at Barry College as a teacher for 50 years and the staunch advocate of brownies and guides has also secured an invite to the VIP enclosure.

Betty Pratt attended the Trinity Street church company, in Barry, but was unable to join the guides because her family were unable to afford the uniform.

As a young girl, she took part in activities which back then included platting hair, knowing how to lay a table, darning socks, making a milk pudding, folding clothes for a mangle and carrying a message of 12 words in their head and giving it to somebody else.

Betty said: “I couldn’t do it now! I liked the idea of joining and the company I suppose. I would tell young girls it’s fun.”

Betty Smith was drafted in to help with the youngsters by her Cardiff neighbour Mrs Bigmore, who became a commissioner.

Betty, who still has some of her uniform, said: “I loved it. It made me. I met Lady Baden Powell and I think the brownies are wonderful. I will never ever forget it and it made me the person I am.”

Some members of staff at the residential home have also been involved with the brownies and guides in their younger years making the Movement well represented through the generations.

Anyone who may know of a brownie aged 93 plus can call Jayne on 01446 409282

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