Scouts a step closer to new centre

It was almost a 'topping-out' ceremony for the Wickham Scout hut that is under construction on Saturday withe the builders, architects, as well as members of the local community, and not forgetting the Scouts in Mill Lane Wickham ''(left) Jenny Bunce (44) Assistant Beaver Leader with Barry Samways (66) Group Scout Leader.....'fly the flag' on the new building !''Picture: Malcolm Wells (124069-1217)
It was almost a 'topping-out' ceremony for the Wickham Scout hut that is under construction on Saturday withe the builders, architects, as well as members of the local community, and not forgetting the Scouts in Mill Lane Wickham ''(left) Jenny Bunce (44) Assistant Beaver Leader with Barry Samways (66) Group Scout Leader.....'fly the flag' on the new building !''Picture: Malcolm Wells (124069-1217)
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SCOUTS are celebrating a milestone in the building of their new headquarters after an arson attack destroyed their old hut.

The 1st Wickham Scouts Group were left with no meeting place when their hut was burnt down in 2006.

WICKHAM SCOUTS (KB) MRW 15/12/2012 ''It was almost a 'topping-out' ceremony for the Wickham Scout hut that is under construction on Saturday withe the builders, architects, as well as members of the local community, and not forgetting the Scouts in Mill Lane Wickham ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (124069-1160)

WICKHAM SCOUTS (KB) MRW 15/12/2012 ''It was almost a 'topping-out' ceremony for the Wickham Scout hut that is under construction on Saturday withe the builders, architects, as well as members of the local community, and not forgetting the Scouts in Mill Lane Wickham ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (124069-1160)

They have been fundraising ever since to raise the £140,000 needed to build a new centre.

Last weekend, the group held a traditional topping out ceremony, where the final beam was placed at the top of the building.

Around 60 Cubs, Scouts and Beavers gathered to watch the event on Mill Lane, Wickham.

The new headquarters mean the group will be able to move from their temporary accommodation in the nearby community centre to the permanent base.

The building is expected to fully open in the spring once the final work to the inside is completed.

Over the last six years, the Scouts have held many fundraising events for the new building, including a duck race on the River Meon where hundreds of the yellow plastic toys were released.

Assistant Beaver leader Jenny Bunce, said: ‘It is very exciting.

‘With the topping out ceremony we really feel like we have made a tremendous effort and we now have money to get to the end.

‘Over 100 young people use this facility so it will nice to have our own home and have all the equipment in a space that we can easily access.

‘It’s a really big relief to finally get there.

‘We have put so much effort into the raising the money.

‘Now we can focus on the Scouting and not worry about the fundraising.’

Members of the Scout group hope the new building will mean they will be able to attract more members.

Girls and boys aged six or over can join the Scouts.

Teenagers aged 14 to 18 can also become leaders.

Southern Co-operative donated a cheque of £10,000 to the group after shoppers from the Wickham store donated points from their loyalty card in a fundraiser called the Community Support Card Scheme.

Representatives from the Southern Co-operative were at the topping out ceremony to present the cheque.

Mrs Bunce said: ‘We are delighted with our £10,000 award.

‘We have received fabulous support and encouragement from the Wickham store and our local community.’

The Scouts had previously received a £2,500 award from The News We Can Do It Charity Giveaway, which was supported by Barclays Bank in 2010.

To find out more information on the Scouts and how to join visit scouts.org.uk.