1928 – 1950
Our Founder and First Group Scout Leader – William King
A retired Cheam builder who had responded to a national call for men to come forward and train as future scoutmasters, became the Group’s first GSL.
Later Mr King wrote, “I felt this call was meant for me.”
Mr King, forever afterwards known in scouting circles as ‘The Chief’, held the introductory meeting of the Group in an old Apple Store in the former rectory grounds. He explained to the assembly of the four boys at that initial meeting, what scouting entailed, and of his hopes and ambitions for an active and thriving scout troop in Cheam.
Our first Group meeting place
The very first gathering of what was to become the 1st Cheam Group took place in the Apple Store (‘now demolished) in the grounds of the Old Rectory
The St. Dunstan’s Institute, formerly the Cheam Working Men’s Club, was in a near dilapidated state when Mr King gained permission for the 1st Cheam Group to ‘move in’.
On the damp autumn evening of 17th October 1928 four local village boys headed for 21 Malden Road. Cheam, the building that has been home to the 1st Cheam Group ever since.
Wolf Cubs – First Pack Leader
And Second Group Scout Leader– Eric Alcorn 1951 – 1964
A couple of weeks after Bill King had held the first meeting of what was to grow into the 1st Cheam Group, he invited a Mr. Eric Alcorn (shortly to take on the Scouting name of ‘Grey Brother’) to form the 1st Cheam Cub Pack.
Eric Alcorn subsequently took on the reigns as Group Scout Master from 1951 until October 1964.
He was awarded the Silver Acorn award in 1959 in recognition ‘specially distinguished services’, and served as the Sutton District Commissioner from 1962.
Service to the Nation
During the 2nd world war, service to the nation and the local community was much to the fore. Most of the young men who had become Scouters by the early forties were called up for national service.
The boys themselves spent much time collecting waste paper, books for the Red Cross, filling sandbags and erecting Morrison air raid shelters in people’s homes.
Tents were camouflaged and those members camping had to bring both their gas masks and ration books to camp
1st Cheam continues to serve the local community by supporting a number of organisations including Cheam Rotary’s Christmas collection and our neighbours in Cheam and Sutton British Legion.
Our Link with Norway
In the late 1960’s, we formed with a Norwegian Scout Group – the 13th Trondheim.
The first joint camp took place in the UK in 1971 followed by a year later, when the 1st Cheam and 13th Trondheim camped together at the 1972 Norwegian National Scout Camp – a gathering of over 10,000 Scouts.
The link with Norway continued for a further 20 years until the 13th Trondheim sadly closed in the early 1990’s.
Our Other Group Scout Leaders
In addition to William King (Chief) and Eric Alcorn (Grey Brother), the Group has had a further five Group Scout Master / Leaders over the years.
Cyril Pegg – GSL 1950-1951 & 1964-1972
Cyril Pegg initially consented to accept the warrant as GSL on an interim basis following the death of William King.
On moving from Molesey to Cheam in the late 1920s he served as an Assistant Cubmaster, became Scout Master of the newly formed Senior Scout Troop in the late forties, and soon the Rover Scout Leader. Cyril Pegg, became known as ‘Skipper’ Pegg,
Cyril’s second period as GSM commenced some thirteen years later.
He stepped down as the GSL of 1st Cheam in May 1971 under the rules of the new image of scouting when a retirement age had been fixed though Cyril had already been granted by special dispensation an extension of twelve months. However, he was not lost to the Group as he continued as an instructor and later became our President.
Lol Sergeant GSL 1971-1978
On Cyril’s retirement as GSL in 1971, Lol Sergeant, who had been Scout Leader of the Troop from 1949 was invited by the Group Council to take on the role of GSL. He had been in the Group all its 43 years having been one of the four lads at the very first meeting in 1928.
Lol’s services to scouting were rightly recognised. In 1958 he was awarded the Medal of Merit; a bar was added in 1966. Eleven years later he was to receive from the Chief Scout the Silver Acorn.
In total, Lol had been in the Group of 1st Cheam fifty years. He was immediately appointed Vice-President and in 1983 following the death of Cyril Pegg, became the Group President.
Malcolm Faircliife GSL 1978-1982
Malcolm Faircliffe became the first scouter to become GSL who joined the Group as a cub.
Malcolm continued to serve the Group after stepping down from the GSL role by accepting the invitation to become Vice-President.
In early 1990 he became President of 1st Cheam following the death the previous November of Lol Sergeant.
Malcolm held the President’s office for twelve years.
Mike Helps GSL 1982-2000
Mike Helps was another Scouter who had joined 1st Cheam as a cub and served as the Group’s GSL from 1982.
Mike’s contribution and his input into Scouting was rightfully recognised by the award of the Medal of Merit in 1977, the Silver Acorn in ’89 plus a bar to the award in 1998. On his standing down at the age of 65 in the year 2000 after 17 years as GSL Mike was given the rare honour by the Chief Scout of being appointed Honorary Scouter.,
John Haizelden GSL 2000-2006
Upon Mike’s retirement as GSL in 2000 John Haizelden was appointed.
John’s scouting began in 1948 when he joined the 1st Royal Tunbridge Wells Group as a cub.
Having moved to Cheam and attended the basic Cub Scout Leaders training wood badge course John received his warrant as an Assistant Cubmaster in the 1st Cheam Pack in 1979. In 1994 he received his Long Service Decoration for fifteen years as a warranted Scouter. In 2004 John was awarded the Medal of Merit “in recognition of outstanding services.
The Chief Scout appointed John an Honorary Scouter on his retirement from the GSL role.
Jonathan Long GSL 2007-2015
Jonathan became the third GSL who had joined 1st Cheam as a Cub,
He went on to become Scout Leader in 1983 and proceeded to organise many troop summer and weekend camps, canal trips and walking trips in the Peak District.
For outstanding services Jonathan was awarded the Medal of Merit in 1989. And in 2010 his continued contribution to Scouting was recognised with the award of The Silver Acorn.
Jonathan stepped down from the role as GSL at the end of 2015. He continues to support the Group as an Assistant Scout Leader, covers the role as Group Administrator.