Scout hut ready for service after revamp project is complete

MP Bridget Phillipson with leaders and members of 1st Herrtington Scouts at the unveiling of their refitted hut.
MP Bridget Phillipson with leaders and members of 1st Herrtington Scouts at the unveiling of their refitted hut.

A Scout hut eaten away by critters has been given a revamp thanks in part to the legacy of its late leaders.

The HQ of 1st Herrington Scouts was built in Devon Street in the 1970s under the vision of group leader John Lowerson on land he donated to the group.

Jonathan Rout, an ex-Scout and trustee of the legacy fund which contributed to some of the refurbishment, with MP Bridget Phillipson as she helped relaunch the 1st Herrington Scouts' hut.

Jonathan Rout, an ex-Scout and trustee of the legacy fund which contributed to some of the refurbishment, with MP Bridget Phillipson as she helped relaunch the 1st Herrington Scouts' hut.

Now those who have progressed through its ranks to become its own chiefs have helped oversee a refurbishment, which was much needed a check found the building had suffered damage caused by a significant woodworm infestation.

It resulted in all the flooring being replaced in the building, as well as in the main hall, with all the timber in need of a treatment by a pest control company.

The old boarded up wooden frames also had to be removed and were replaced with new double glazing and doors.

Its new look has seen it decorated in the colours of the Scouting movement, with the cost met through group funds, fundraising, grants and donations, which some of the cash granted through a trust fund left by Mr Lowerson after he died in September 2009, aged 74.

A great deal of hard work has gone into fundraising and renovating the building so that it is fit for the future.

Bridget Phillipson

Much of the £10,000-plus work was carried out by volunteers, who included leaders and parents, as well as members of the troop.

Since the interior was kitted out, the team is now looking at refurbishing the outside, with a new insulated render coating to make it warmer and waterproof, with a target of £13,000 set for the next phase of the work.

Steven Gibson, group Scout leader, said: “We have now got a building we can be proud of again and we can look after.

“We have duties and patrols on Friday where we sweep and tidy up and we try to make sure they all learn and have some respect for the area and the building.”

The troop’s history dates back to 1910, just two years after the movement was founded by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, making it one of the longest running groups in the Durham Scout County.

The hut was relaunched at a celebration event, where Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson helped unveil the base’s revamp.

She said: “It was a pleasure to join the 1st Herrington Scouts for the opening of their new HQ.

“A great deal of hard work has gone into fundraising and renovating the building so that it is fit for the future.

“I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who made this project possible, and also to John Lowerson, who led the Herrington Scouts in the 1970s, and whose generosity helped ensure this much-needed work took place.”

The troop also runs Cubs and Beavers groups, with more details about to be found via http://www.1stherringtonscouts.org.uk/.

More about its history can be found through http://www.herrington-heritage.org.uk/scouting.html.