Jackie marks with half-a-century of scouting in Dunmow

Jackie Martin celebrates 50 years with the scouts in Dunmow. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jackie Martin celebrates 50 years with the scouts in Dunmow. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A Dunmow woman has marked 50 years of service to the town’s scout group in a celebration attended by about 100 people.

The 1st Dunmow Scout Group arranged a surprise celebration in November for Jackie Martin, who joined the organisation in 1969 and leads the Dunmow Tigers' cub pack.

Past and current members, friends and parents attended the event and offered gifts to Mrs Martin, including an album with photos of her 50 years with the scouts.

Mrs Martin said: "It was a big surprise. I was warned a few days before something was going to happen but I didn't know what.

"I was completely overwhelmed by it. I hadn't realised that so many people were going to be turning up and what they had organised."

Mrs Martin was also given a 50-year certificate from the Scout Association, while the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Jennifer Tolhurst, sent a message of congratulations to be read at the ceremony.

Mrs Martin was 23 years old when she joined the 1st Dunmow Scout Group, which has about 160 members aged between six and 15.

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As cub leader, she has travelled to America, Germany and the Netherlands with her cubs and also ran a swimming club over the years.

Mrs Martin said: "I just love working with young people - they are such a pleasure to work with.

"It's been great fun. I've met lovely people on the way, made lifelong friendships and seen some lovely people come out the other end."

Mrs Martin, who is now retired, ran a family boat-building business in Dunmow with her husband Rodney, who was also a scout leader. Their son, David, is a trustee of Dunmow Scouts and both of their grandchildren have been part of the group.

The chairman for the 1st Dunmow Scout Group said: "Jackie inspires children through practical experience and relentless encouragement to overcome personal barriers and boundaries, and to take risks with safety.

"The Great Dunmow community is extremely lucky in having a unique and enviable quality of scouting, delivered by a fantastic team of scouters, who give their time freely."