Pro-Badge Scout Training Scheme

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The History of Pro-Badge

In 1989 a group of young leaders led by Les Farrington ("The Yeti") got together to discuss an idea about Proficiency Badges and the use of Lyons Copse, for it had been noted that the site, the Solent Scout Training Centre, was not being used through the winter months to its full or possible potential. The site had been purchased in 1970 and officially opened on 15th May 1971.

It had also been highlighted that not every Scout was able to achieve Proficiency Badges within their own Group. This was because from conversations that had taken place some Groups/Troops have problems with skilled leaders, adults with time to undertake Proficiency Badge work or the appropriate equipment to under some badge tasks.

It transpired from this that a plan was formulated and proposed for a scheme that would enable Scouts to attend a course and undertake training and assessment in certain badges that Lyons Copse naturally lends itself to. It was decided that the two areas that could be site could be utilised in where scouting skills and the countryside.

A proposal was drafted and presented to the Solent Scout Training Centre Management Committee who endorsed the scheme. On top of this endorsement the site also provided £250.00 to help set the scheme up, a small area for an equipment store and a concession on leaders camping fees.

A series of teams where formed to be able to run each weekend and these were an overall admin team, a cook house team, a service crew, First Aiders and a specialist/expert training team for each course.

The Admin Team was headed-up by Yeti, and supported by Brian Simpson ("Sherlock"), Alan Garrett and Jenny Simpson.

The Cook House Team was led by Godfrey Buckley, who was supported by Sonia Farrington ("Mrs Yeti"), Steve Lee ("Hairbear"), Andrew Limburn ("Lill"), Elaine France ("Snowy"), Val Williamson and Steve Bezant.

The Service Crew was made up of Venture Scouts mainly from Fareham East.

The First Aid Team was led by Anne-Marie Brackley, ably supported by Alan Springett and Lou Dunkerson.

The scheme could now be put into operation. For the first season five courses where planned and these where for the following proficiency badges:

October 1989

Naturalist, Spring Camp and Backwoodskills

November 1989


January 1990


February 1990

Camp Cook

April 1990

Naturalist, Spring Camp

Over the next three years five other courses where added to the programme. These where Advanced Pioneer, Camper and another two weekend course of World Conservation. A three-weekend course was also introduced for the Hiker badge. This now meant that at least two courses where taking place per weekend. The third weekend for the Hiker badge became the only weekend spent away from Lyons Copse, as the third hike needs to be completed in unfamiliar countryside. This first took place in 1994.

The final course to be added was another double weekend one, the Camp Warden Proficiency Badge.

Each of these courses had its own training team. These where led by a specialist, who was supported by a set of experts. These were:

  • Naturalist – Steve Crowe led with Alan Springer, Cathy Pidduck and Graham Mundie in support
  • Backwoodskills – Phil Latham led Pete and Stephen Borne all from Southsea District in support
  • Pioneer and Advanced Pioneer – Jerry Fox led, with Bob Miles, Ken Sertin, Mike Atkinson, Arthur Tagg, Pete Saxby and Bill Crowe in support
  • Camp Cook – Phil Confue led, with Chris Bowen, Alistair Linfield and Nick Monterro in support
  • Forester – Graham Mundie led, with Steve Crowe, Rikki Parker and Simon James
  • Camper – Barry Samways led, with Christine Samways, Trevor and Christine Fleet, Alan and Sonia Crabb in support
  • World Conservation – Angela French led, Steve Crowe helping

Part of the multi-course weekends was to produce a report between the weekends, which then had to be produced on the last of the weekends to be assessed and a trophy awarded at the Pro-Badge Annual Review (more about this later). The badges that these awards where for and the awards themselves were, and still are:

  • The Osborne Owl Award for the Naturalist Proficiency Badges;
  • The New World Award for the World Conservation Proficiency Badge;
  • The Percy Pig Award for the Hiker Proficiency Badge;
  • The Humphrey Dormouse Award for the Camp Warden Proficiency Badge.

The Osborne Owl, Percy Pig and Humphrey Dormouse trophies are porcelain figures of an Owl, Pig and Dormouse from the “Little Nook” series. All are dressed and going about their business. The New World Trophy is an Eggbert and has a chick hatching from a world that is shaped like an egg globe.

In the second year the Pro-Badge Special Award was instigated. This was a solid wood carved owl. This was carved by Mr Tom Crouch who was a member of the same wine circle as Mrs Yeti.

The award is for the member of staff who it is thought has contributed most to that season’s Pro-Badge. This is considered between the Camp Leader and the Assistant Camp Leaders. None of them are eligible for this award.

All of these awards and trophies are awarded at the Pro-Badge Annual Review. This is the schemes' Annual General Meeting, but without the voting. This always takes place in the June following the completion of a season and also gives everyone the opportunity to ask any relevant questions about Pro-Badge.

Each course has its own requirements as set down by the Scout Association and in some cases Pro-Badge pushes the bounds further to enable the Scouts to obtain even more leaning and understanding.

At this point it should be noted that a number of things change over the years. These include the badge requirements and names, the organisations personnel and of course the introduction of Junior Pro-badge.

Firstly and because of the three yearly Proficiency badge reviews a number of badges have had their names changed and some have actually been dropped. The Backwoodskills has had its name changed to Survival Skills and World Conservation changed to Global Conservation.

The Advanced Pioneer and Camp Warden badges were removed from the Scheme all together. This comes about when a committee of the Scout Association meets and considers if individual badges are still being undertaken in sufficient numbers.

In 2008 a greater change came over the scheme. The word "Proficiency" was dropped and the word "Activity" replaced it, thus the scheme is now for Activity Badges. The emphasis now became on the taking part rather then on the learning and skill factors. This has taken a big toll in the number of Scouts wanting to take part, as there is not the same importance being attached to the need to undertake Activity badges.

It was decided to retain the name Pro-Badge instead of changing it to say Act-Badge because we liked Pro-Badge and a scheme similar to Pro-Badge was already in existence in the north of Hampshire.

Over 23 years some personnel have left Pro-Badge because of work, marriage and many other reasons. However a number of personnel have remained and these include Snowy, Uncle Bill, Hairbear, Snickers, Steve Crowe and Jerry Fox.

In 2009 the Camp Site Services Activity Badge was introduced! Sound familiar? Yes, it is the Camp Warden Proficiency Badge under a different guise. Too many people had either continued with the Camp Warden badge or made requests for it, which the committee had to add the ‘new’ badge to the scheme.

At the beginning of Scouting Baden-Powell had to think what to do with the younger boys who wanted to join their brothers doing Scouting. And this is how Wolf Cubs were born. Pro-Badge was having the same problem; Cub Scouts and their Leaders wanted to know "when we would be running badge courses for Cub Scouts?"

The answer was we could not, because there was no suitable building to house and sleep Cub Scouts. This changed in 1997 when Lyons Lodge was opened in Philmore Field. This was a brand new building which has two floors, central heating, showers and 36 bunked sleeping berths. An ideal facility for housing Cub Scouts.

On 7th May, 1997 the new building was officially opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG, who was accompanied by The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Lady Mary Fagan. Pro-Badge was privileged to be part of this day and Scouts from 5th Gosport, 10th Fareham, 12th Gosport, 4th Fareham and 8th Bramshill put on displays of Camp Cooking, Pioneering and Pond Dipping. The Duke and Lady Fagan did try the camp doughnuts being cooked over the open fire. The visitors also included the Chief Scout George Purdy.

Because of this Junior Pro-Badge was born. Jeff Moore, the Cub Scout Leader from Portchester was approached to become the Assistant Camp Leader for Junior Pro-Badge. He was ably assisted by Midge Clark. Midges husband Clive ("Scissors") was already an Assistant Camp Leader on the Scout side.

Following deep discussions and much planning the first camp run in October 1999 was for the Camper Activity Badge. For the first season this badge was joined by the Explorer, World Conservation, Map Reader and Naturalist.

In the 12 years since its induction two things have happened to Junior Pro-Badge. One which affected the general make up and running of Junior Pro-Badge and the other which affected many of us emotionally.

As with the Scout scheme badges change following decisions by the national badge committee and just like the Scouts World Conservation became Global Conservation.

Explorer was replaced by Adventure and is now Navigator and instead of Camper we now run Outdoor Challenge and Outdoor Challenge Plus. Map Reader was taken out of the scheme and then reinstated.

In 2003 Jeff went on holiday to Austria with his fiancée Marilyn Burt. While out walking on a mountain trail alone Jeff disappeared. Nothing relating to Jeff and his kit has ever been found. No one but God and Jeff knows where he is. He has been a great loss to Pro-Badge, Marilyn and his family. Pro-Badge have placed a chair in the Chapel in the Trees in memory of Jeff. It serves for Jeff so that he can rest on what ever journey he is on.

In 2000 Pro-Badge formed its own Scout Fellowship; this was formed for two purposes. These where to support Pro-Badge on both the weekends, with social activities, fund raising activities and to allow its members to be covered by the Scouts Associations insurance by being CRB (now DBS) checked.

With the advent of the new training programme and especially the introduction of the new section age ranges Pro-Badge was able to form its own Explorer Scout Unit. The main intention of this unit was for it to act as a service unit for the Pro-Badge weekends, besides following the full Explorer Scout programme. The Explorer Unit was closed in the summer of 2012 but Explorers from several units attend to help on weekends besides following the full Explorer Scout programme.

Following the retirement of Les Farrington("Yeti") in the summer of 2012 a review was undertaken and Pro-Badge decided to continue under the leadership of Clive Clark ("Scissors") and the training scheme was formed into a Scout Active Support Unit (SASU) for administration and management purposes. This review is also what led to the closing of the Explorer Unit as Hampshire County no longer has county Explorer Units.

Over the 30 years troops and packs from all over Hampshire have had their Scouts and Cub Scouts take part in Pro-badge and Junior Pro-badge. Were you either one of these participating Cubs and Scouts, or are you now in one of those Troops or Packs, is a son(s) or daughter(s) in one of those Troops or Packs or do you know someone that is? Please let us know.

Your memories of your time while taking part in Pro-Badge or Junior Pro-Badge would be most welcome.

Participating Scout Troops



Basingstoke East

Brighton Hill, Basingstoke Air Scouts, 8th Basingstoke

Basingstoke West

24th Basingstoke

Blackwater Valley
(formerly, Aldershot, Farnborough and Cove)

2nd Farnborough, 1st Cove


7th and 8th Bramshill

Chandlers Ford

2nd Chandlers Ford

City of Portsmouth (Formally Portsdown, Central Portsmouth, and Southsea Districts)

5th, 7th, 21st, 30th, 61st, 64th, 68th, 70th and 73rd Portsmouth


8th Eastleigh

Fareham East

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th, 15th and 17th Fareham, 2nd and 3rd Portchester, 1st Catisfield

Fareham West

1st Titchfield, 1st Warsash, 1st Locksheath, 1st Sarisbury Green, 2nd Stubbington


1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th and 12th Gosport, 1st Lee on Solent

Meon Valley
(formerly Bishops Waltham District)

1st Bishops Waltham, 1st Shedfield, 1st Swanmore, 1st Wickham

New Forest West

3rd Ringwood


1st Sheet, 1st Petersfield, 1st Liss


Pamber Heath, Bramley

Southampton City
(formerly Southampton West and Southampton Central)

7th, 14th and 28th Southampton


1st Lovedean, 1st Hart Plain


3rd and 9th Winchester




1st Chislehurst Air Scouts

Scouts Cymru

1st Llandrindod

British Scouts Overseas

1st The Hague

Participating Cub Scout Packs




2nd Andover

Basingstoke East

Brighton Hill, 1st Popley

Basingstoke West

Old Basing, 11th and 24th Basingstoke

City of Portsmouth
(formerly Portsdown, Central Portsmouth and Southsea Districts)

5th, 21st, 61st, 62nd, 64th and 73rd Portsmouth

Fareham East

2nd, 4th, 10th and 15th Fareham

Fareham West

1st Titchfield, 1st Stubbington,1st Sarisbury Green


3rd and 5th Gosport


1st West Leigh, 3rd Hayling Island

Meon Valley
(formerly Bishops Waltham District)

1st Bishops Waltham, 1st Shedfield, 1st Swanmore


1st Sheet, 1st Liss

Southampton City
(Formally Southampton West and Southampton Central)

28th and 22nd Southampton


1st Lovedean, 1st Hart Plain


9th Winchester

Participating Brownies Packs


8th Rowner

Other occasions

Some other occasions to note within this text are some Gone Home, a christening and a number of marriages connected with Pro-Badge. They are:

Gone Home

Jan Scott

Jan was the treasurer for Pro-Badge for 11 years. She took over from Alan Garrett in 1990 and continued until 2001 when Scissors took over. Jan also helped Uncle Bill with the shopping for the weekends, by taking him to Makro and any where else that was needed to firstly pay for the groceries, etc. and then transport Uncle Bill and the vitals to Lyons Copse. This all took place on the Thursday evening of the relevant weekend. Another way that Jan and her husband also helped Pro-Badge was to hold fund raising evenings at their house in the form of quizzes or treasure hunts.

Nigel Dean

Nigel was a part of Pro-Badge right at the beginning helping in the kitchen and with the Senior Patrol.

Ian Clarke

Ian was our First Aider for several years.

Steve Huber

Steve was a member of Pro-Badge during the 1990’s and early 2000’s helping on the Naturalist badges and the Survival Skills badge.


The following couples got married while involved with Pro-Badge. In some cases they are still involved with the scheme.

Steven Crowe And Elaine France

Steven Crowe married Elaine France in 1997. Both Steve and Elaine have been involved in various roles within Pro-Badge and are still very active. Elaine is the Assistant Camp Leader Admin and Girl Scouts. Steve is the Specialist for the Survival Skills course and an Expert on the Naturalist and World Conservation courses.

In 2004 Jamie was born to Steve and Elaine and Katie was born in 2005. Both children know Lyons Copse well.

Clive Clark and Marjorie Milne

In 1997 Clive Clark married Marjorie Milne.

Again both Clive and Midge have held more then one role within Pro-Badge. Clive initially started as a member of the Service Crew in the 1992/93 season, before becoming the leader of the Senior Patrol. Other posts have followed and he is currently the Camp Leader and Tresurer, alone with being the Specialist trainer for the Scout Hiker badge and the Cub Scout Map Reader badge.

Midge joined Pro-Badge as the Assistant to the Assistant Camp Leader Junior Pro-Badge in 1999 at its inception. When Jeff Moore disappeared Midge took over his role. Besides being on the Executive Committee in her own right as A.C.L. Cub Scouts Midge also acts as the minutes secretary.

Nine members of Pro-Badge where invited to their wedding and to attend it meant travelling to Glasgow. We happily did, for Glasgow is Midges' home town.

David Jenkins and Anne-Marie Brackley

David Jenkins married Anne-Marie Brackley in 1996.

At the beginning of Pro-Badge Anne-Marie became the first Assistant Camp Leader Heath and Safety, i.e. 1st Aid. David was a member of the 1st Aid team.

Both where introduced to us by Alan Springett. He was a Venture Scout leader in Fareham East and a member of the Link, an 18 to 25 year section affiliated to the Guide movement, as where David and Anne-Marie.

David has continued as a member of Pro-Badge, at one stage filling the same role that Anne-Marie held as A.C.L, H&S. He is now a member of the Cook House Team. Anne-Marie carries out a supporting role within Junior Pro-Badge.

In 2000 James was born to David and Anne-Marie and though he joined the Boys Brigade and sings in the Junior Choir he has taken part and achieved all of the Junior Pro-Badge courses available to him.

Benjie Gillam and Jemma Sturgeon

One couple who met as Scouts of a Pro-Badge course and courted through others, service weekends at Lyons Copse and then while Venture Scouts and were members of the Pro-Badge Service crew were Benjie Gillam of 3rd Ringwood and Jemma Sturgeon of 5th Gosport. They married in 2008; Alexander was born in 2010 and Isaac in 2012.


As a Venture Scout with the 2nd Farnbourgh Unit Larry Dutton became a member of the Pro-Badge Senior Patrol. In his personal life he started dating Jo and she joined Pro-Badge as a member of the Health and Safety Team; Jo was and still is a trained nurse. They got married in Jo’s home town of Ruthin in North Wales. In 2005 Oliver was born to Larry and Jo; the Chapel in the Trees at Lyons Copse is properly consecrated ground and in 1999 Larri and Jo had Oliver baptised.

Since the birth of Oliver, Larry and Jo have had two more children, Tilly and Felix. Having moved to Cambridge Tilly and Felix were not baptised at Lyons Copse.

Mount Everest

As part of the Scout Centenary celebrations on the 21st May 2007, three Hampshire Scouts Summitted Mount Everest one of these was James Fry who won the Percy Pig Award for the Hiker Badge in 1997/1998.

Current Staff

As already stated, the staff personnel of Pro-badge has always changed. The current staff as of October 2019 is:

Camp Leader

Clive Clark ("Scissors")

Assistant Camp Leaders

Elaine Crowe ("Snowy"), Marjorie Clark ("Midge")

Deputy Camp Leader, Scouts

Kevin Pearce

Deputy Camp Leader, Cub Scouts



Andy Ratcliffe ("Rats")

Deputy Quartermaster

Nigel French

Cook House Team Leader

Steve Lee ("Hairbear")

Cook House Team

Steve Morton and David Jenkins

Health and Safety

Mark Elbourn

Junior Pro-Badge Team

Sarah Sluman ("Swan") Colin Rowland ("Woozle"), Clive Nash ("Yaffle"), Hilary Nash ("Barn Owl"), Chris Mossop ("Hephalump"), Michael Lovell ("Lurch"), Sharon Hargreaves ("Fox"), Suzi Hoskins, , Karina Orchard ("Piggy"), Amy Mossop, Malcolm Irons, Steff Newman, Jo Dutton, Mike Atkinson.

Scout Course Specialists

Jeremy Fox, Steve Crowe, Larry Dutton, Richard Smith, Colin Rowland, Karina Orchard.

Scout Course Experts

Craig Wise, David Scott, Matt Dutton, Jim Kidd, Chris Mossop, Mike Atkinson, Ashley Franklin, Jo Dutton, Suzi Hoskins.

Service Crew

Many Explorer Scouts and others who help on weekends.


Colin Potter ("Spider")

Hampshire Scouts Registered Charity Number: 1015788

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