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​1st Ash Vale Scout Group - The Grobbendonk Story

​​1st Ash Vale Scout Group

In the early 1970’s, Len Scott who was then Scout Leader of 1st Ash Vale Scout Group in Ash Vale first contacted the Belgian, Flemish Scout Group in Grobbendonk. Len had previously worked in Antwerp and several times a year he took a group of Scouts over to visit Grobbendonk to explore Belgium.  


The Scout Group in Grobbendonk was established in 1927 and is a member of the Flemish Catholic Scout Association VVKS.  The Scout Group's name, 'Bosvogels’ means ‘Birds of the Forest’.  

The Grobbendonk Scout Leaders were delighted to welcome the visitors from Ash Vale and trips were arranged to Brussels, Lier, Bruges, Bokrijk, and Bobbejaanland.  Similarly members of the Grobbendonk JIN-group (Venture Scouts) visited Ash Vale on several occasions during the summer.  The leaders of Grobbendonk have also visited Ash Vale and in 1976 visitors from Grobbendonk took part in the Remembrance Day parade in Ash.

Bosvogels’ Golden Jubilee was held in 1977 and preparations were made for the 1st Ash Vale Scouts brass band to go to Grobbendonk to join in the festivities.  A group of 40 from Ash Vale travelled to Grobbendonk for a 3-day visit.   The band played Len’s own musical arrangement of the Flanders National Anthem, along with other well-known Flemish music and English hymns.

At the Jubilee celebrations every Scout member wore the shield of the ‘Bosvogels’ on their uniform and subsequently The Scout Association agreed that the shield could become a part of the uniform of 1st Ash Vale Scout Group.  The 'Bosvogels' shield is now worn on 1st Ash Vale Scout Group neckerchiefs.

A delegation of Bosvogels Scouts visited Ash Vale on 19 May 2007 and met with the Leaders and members of the Group.  At 1st Ash Vale’s Jamboree in July 2007 Len Scott presented 1st Ash Vale Scout Group with an engraved 'Bosvogels' wooden shield on behalf of Bosvogels Scout Group, such as the ones that were presented to the Scout Leaders of Grobbendonk in the 1960s.  The shield belonged to a Bosvogels Leader who died in 2005.  His family had donated it back to Bosvogels and it was felt that it should be given to 1st Ash Vale Scout Group.  The shield now hangs in 1st Ash Vale’s HQ in Ash Vale.


When 1st Ash Vale Scout Group celebrated its 75th Anniversary in April 2013, representatives of Grobbendonk visited to attend the Diamond Jubilee service and took part in the celebrations.