IW Brownies celebrate 100 years

The Island has always been a stronghold for Girl Guides and Brownies, so it was appropriate that many youngsters joined together to mark the amazing milestone. Hundreds of girls and their leaders packed into the Events Centre at Cowes Yacht Haven for the celebration, which proved to be very exciting for everyone, and the very colourful party was certainly a time to remember.

In a special tribute, Island Life looks back at some of the achievements of the Brownies on the Island over the past century:

In 1914, girls from the age of seven to 11, realised their older sisters were having fun as Girl Guides, after the Island Company was formed at Ventnor in 1912. So the Rosebuds were formed to meet the demand, but as the girls did not particularly like the name and it was decided to change it to Brownies.

As well as enjoying their fun activities, Brownies, along with Guides Girls, played their part in World War I, rolling bandages ready to treat wounded soldiers. In 1918 a Guide and Brownie concert was held at Shanklin in celebration of the end of the Great War, and as the membership grew several events were held including a Handicraft Exhibition at Unity Hall, Newport.

In the 1930s a rally was held at Carisbrooke Castle, with over 1,000 Guides and 450 Brownies attending along with Chief Guide Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, while during World War II Brownies on the Island again helped the War Effort, with Lady Baden-Powell visiting the Island in 1943.

She returned here in 1955 to visit Carisbrooke Castle for another rally, and nine years later Brownies celebrated their Golden Jubilee with Districts holding Revels. One was held at Ventnor with 250 Brownies attending.

In 1971 the Brownies had another name change to Brownie Guides and in 1974 celebrated their Diamond Jubilee Year, and 20 years later the 80th birthday celebrations included more than 700 girls attending  revels at Sandown, where guests included TV’s own ‘Mr. Blobby’.

When HRH Prince Philip visited Havenstreet Station in 2001 several Brownies enjoyed a trip on ‘The Royal Train’, and three years later Revels to celebrate 90 years for Brownies were held at Ryde where the grounds of Bishop Lovett School were transformed into Treasure Island.

Now the Brownies have reached the magical 100 years of fun, activities and valuable work, and plans will no doubt be underway shortly to see how the organisation can move forward during the next 100 years.