Celebrating Thinking Day in the abbey

THINKERS Rainbow guides Coral Buckley and Evelyn Cooper (pictured front) at the Baden-Powell memorial in Westminster Abbey
THINKERS Rainbow guides Coral Buckley and Evelyn Cooper (pictured front) at the Baden-Powell memorial in Westminster Abbey
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Jacqui Dixon, the County Commissioner for Girlguiding Hampshire East, recalls a special day trip to London

Two Rainbow Guides from Meon Valley, Coral Buckley and Evelyn Cooper, and their leader Sallyann Smith had an unforgettable experience when they attended a special event in Westminster Abbey.

They were there to take part in the Thinking Day ceremony at the memorial to Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Guiding and Scouting, and his wife, Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, the World Chief Guide.

February 22 was their shared birthday and is now celebrated as Thinking Day by guides and girl scouts across the globe.

Excitement for the two five-year-olds mounted as they boarded the train at Botley bound for London.

They started the day experiencing the magical entertainers of the South Bank, delighted in finding Big Ben and watching the London Eye turn its slow circle.

One of the buskers even sang a special version of Let it Go from Frozen just for the girls!

After lunch they walked over the bridge to the abbey where they met other guiding representatives from across south-west England.

There were brownies, guides, senior section members and leaders to meet along with representatives from the Scout Association.

James, the tour guide, showed everyone around the abbey.

It was amazing to see how many people had memorials or were buried at the abbey.

The girls’ favourite fact was that 38 kings and queens had been crowned there. They decided they didn’t want a school playground like the spot where the monks used to have their breaks.

The stained glass windows were spectacular and the girls also loved the lighting and detailed ceilings.

The whole group attended the evensong service and then had a special wreath-laying ceremony where two brownies laid floral tributes to represent guiding members everywhere.

After the ceremony, everyone zoomed across London in a black cab – very exciting – and were treated to a celebration meal with the Chief Guide, her deputy and the Chief Commissioner of the south-west region.

Then it was time for the journey home, tired but happy after an amazing adventure.

Five-year-old Coral said: ‘I will remember this day all of my life.

‘We were so lucky to be chosen to go!’

For more information about how to get involved in guiding as a young member or as an adult, visit girlguiding.org.uk.