1st Midsomer Norton Scout Group

At the same time as the Jamboree, August 1947, the Troop embarked on the challenge of a 3-week summer camp at Wells-on-Sea, Norfolk, the party of 31 travelled by train from Welton to Bristol, then to Norfolk changing at London. The main camping equipment was sent on in advance, but travelling that distance, which included crossing London with all personal gear, was no mean feat.

The camp itself, the first of its kind for the Group, was highly successful despite set backs such as rats mauling the Sunday joint during the first night. Fortunately locals came to the rescue after an appeal at Church Parade.

During this camp 14 boys learned to swim, a number passed the Athletes Badge and others the Cooks Badge. It is recorded that during the 19 days not one meal was burnt and all boys put on weight.

Waiting for the train connection in London on the return journey gave an opportunity for the older boys to see the sights of London for the first time and a chance for the whole Troop to "Enjoy several rides on an escalator".

In 1949 Mr. 'Bosun' Gay started a Senior Scout Troop, and Mr. George Woolfrey agreed to become Assistant Scout Master to Stan Bruce. All went well for the next year or so, until March 1950 when Mr. Gay and Mr. Woolfrey left. The following year Stan Bruce fell ill and Mr. Townsend from Downside Abbey took over running the Troop.

Stan Bruce died on 30th June 1950 which was a terrible blow to the 1st Midsomer Norton and a great loss to the movement as a whole.

Mr. Vic Wotton, Assistant Scout Master Radstock, volunteered to take over temporarily, a position he was to hold until 1954, a period which proved to be one of the most exciting periods for the Group, albeit success was from an associated sport rather than Scouting itself.

The Soapbox Derby years:

Participation in this then extremely popular event took off for the 1st Midsomer Norton in 1952 when N.R.M. (Norton Racing Motor) reached the area finals held at Weston-super-Mare, although failing to qualify for the national finals that year it lay the foundation for future successes.

1953 Southern England Championships at Crystal Palace with N.R.M. II: Cub Driver, Stephen Shipley finished third. Scout Driver, Richard Taylor and Senior Scout Driver, Jim Bruce both qualified for the National Finals at Wembley in September.

The success story continued at Wembley where Richard won his way to the final 12 just failing to qualify in the semi-final. Jim Bruce however reached the Senior Final and finished a very creditable third. The enthusiastic creator of the Norton Racing Motor was Chris Edwards who worked for nine months to perfect the car. It cost £6 and was constructed with technical advice given by Midsomer Norton Motor Co.

1954 Richard Taylor qualified at Crystal Palace in the Scout Section for the National Finals at Scarborough.
Many supporters travelled to Scarborough to see Richard finish 4th best in the British Isles.'

1955 success repeated itself in the a Area Finals at Weston-super-Mare. Richard again qualified for the finals, only this year it was in the Senior Scout section. In the finals held at Morecombe the title of National Champion just eluded Richard who finishing runner-up. So ended an era of challenge and excitement which had started in Chris Edwards' garden shed and carried the name of Midsomer Norton over the whole country.