Jack Petchey Foundation
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Seaside trip for South London Guides teaches them about maritime life

In September, 24 lucky Guides from South West London were treated to a trip to the seaside, thanks to a Small Grant provided by the Jack Petchey Foundation. It was a jam-packed day full of learning and fun!

After arriving in the picturesque town of Hastings by coach, they made their way to the Blue Reef Aquarium. They enjoyed completing the scratch card quiz, searching for the answers all over the aquarium and learning about the creatures they had seen. The Guides loved all the exhibits, and they were often surprised to see how different the creatures looked in real life compared to photos they’d seen before. The juvenile sharks were popular amongst the group, although a few of the Guides needed some convincing to walk through the observation tunnel beneath them!

After lunch they visited the Ship Wreck Museum, where they were accompanied by a tour guide who explained the exhibits to the Guides and answered their questions. They then took a trip next door to the Fishermen’s Museum. There the Guides enjoyed exploring the fishing boats, looking at the diorama of the seafront and trying to find the fishermen’s church. A few Guides soon realised that they were in the church when they noticed the stained glass windows! 

They then took a ride on the East Cliff Lifts, small railway carriages which link the beachfront to the top of the cliffs. While at the top of the cliff, three Guides made their Guide Promise in full view of a group of ladies from the Women's Institute (WI), who began reminiscing about their time as a Girlguides. They asked the group questions about how Girlguiding has changed since they attended and everyone learnt something new from the interaction.

The Guides then visited the net huts to look at the crab and lobster pots. The local fish shop there sells fresh fish caught by local boats earlier that day. The Guides tried traditional seaside cockles, although they were not very popular! Despite the slightly chilly weather, the Guides ended the day with a paddle in the sea, and then warmed up with a bag of chips by the seafront.

This trip gave the girls the chance to experience and learn about another way of life by the sea, both the people and the marine life, which is very different to what they are used to in London. Those who made their Guides’ Promise on the cliffs will have unforgettable memories of the event, and the trip provided an unexpected opportunity to talk with women from an older generation and hear their stories about Guiding.

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