Lonsdale Scouts are this year celebrating 50 years of Scout camping at their splendid Silverdale campsite.
Back in 1962 Scout Leaders and supporters from the then Morecambe & Heysham Scout Association were on the lookout for a campsite to call their very own following a generous bequest to local Scouting from the late Ald. Thomas W. Helme a former District & County Commissioner.
Mr A Jolly a member of the Morecambe Scout Executive and Station Officer at Morecambe Fire Station led a search in the local area and discovered the 18 acre site off The Row in Silverdale.
On December 9, 1962 members of the executive and Scout Leaders made a preliminary inspection of the site and subsequently expressed their profound satisfaction at all the amenities present and the sylvan beauty of the location, in an area which was later to be designated as one of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
Local solicitors scrutinised plans and a purchase sum was agreed and the site duly acquired.
In the early days facilities were relatively basic; there was a small toilet block, a water supply and a small shed for the voluntary wardens’ to sleep in.
Nevertheless, the surroundings were superb and eminently suitable for the purpose offering local Scout Groups a glorious haven to partake in their favourite activity of camping.
Volunteers regularly attended the site and paths were laid, clearings made into camping areas, water points installed and a work cabin erected. Since then a splendid lodge, officially opened in September 1969 by Morecambe & Lonsdale M.P. Alfred Hall-Davis and now able to accommodate 30 individuals, was constructed, along with a small den and most recently a superb wet weather shelter. Plans are on the table to rebuild the ageing toilet block to provide modern showers and toilets with facilities also for the disabled.
The site is nowadays in use on almost every week in the year and the founding fathers would be delighted and would gain great satisfaction in seeing that their precious acquisition continues fulfilling its role in helping young people in Scouting enjoy new adventures; to experience the outdoors; interact with others, gain confidence and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.