New HQ Gala Opening

Scout Adventurer Sal Montgomery officially opened our new £1.1 million headquarters on Saturday 18th September 2021

The formal opening took place in the morning with all group members, former members, VIPs & funders.

Many members of the local community were then able to join us to celebrate this landmark for the group.

The gala opening followed more than six years of fundraising and 18 months of construction to create the new headquarters and community building – which was interrupted by a serious arson attack on its building site last year and then the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sun shone as Marc Gadsby, Group Scout Leader, welcomed members of the group, former members, funders and representatives from the local community who were all gathered around the huge flagpole outside 2nd Warwick Sea Scouts old hut. Viv Bosworth, Group Chair, led tributes of thanks to everyone present for all their efforts in coming together to deliver such a high-profile community project in challenging times.  

Cllr Neale Murphy, Chair of Warwick District Council, helped by two Cubs, unveiled a funders’ board to recognise all of the financial support that made it possible. 

‘The support that we have had from so many different sources has been truly incredible, and we want to thank each and every person, community group, and organisation who volunteered their time, offered fundraising opportunities, donated items for the build, or gave generous grants or donations.   Specific thanks to the Norton Foundation as our biggest funder, and to Warwick District Council, not only for the funding that they provided, but also for working with us so flexibly to allow the build to continue in difficult circumstances.’

Viv Bosworth, Group Chair 

Nigel Hailey, Scouts County Commissioner, added his congratulations and then Sal Montgomery, Scout Adventurer, and Capt Neil Downing RN, Captain of Sea Cadets presented some of the Scouts with  their Chief Scout’s Gold Awards.

A procession, led by Young Leader Rachel Eslick, then took place from the old hut to the new building, with youngsters carrying flags, a ship’s bell, and a lifebuoy to signify the official move of operations to their new HQ; whilst the Royal British Legion Flag bearer led the way for invited guests to follow over to the new HQ.

Once assembled at the new HQ, Graham Suggett, Chair of the Norton Foundation, unveiled the name ‘TS Norton’ in honour of the £225k grant the Norton Foundation gave to allow the building to be completed. ‘TS’ means Training Ship was an appropriate name for their new HQ where youngsters will learn key life skills. 

The Mayor of Warwick Cllr Richard Edgington, cut the celebratory ‘TS Norton’ cake, helped by two Beavers, and Rev. Dr. Anita Morgan blessed the new headquarters.  

Sal Montgomery, escorted by Capt Neil Downing RN, Captain of the Sea Cadets, and Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, cut the bunting and declared Training Ship (TS) Norton officially open.

Attendees were invited to stay for a tour through the new building and see our amazing new space, including a second meeting room, allowing us to now run a second Beaver Colony and second Cub Pack and start to expand the group. Guests then celebrated in the open space at the back of TS Norton whilst listening to The Coventry Festival Band and enjoying a barbecue, cakes and stalls by the RNLI and Royal British Legion. 

‘It was an amazing event to mark a major milestone for our group and it was wonderful to see so many members of the local community, former members and local dignitaries join us to celebrate in the sunshine. Sal Montgomery was absolutely brilliant throughout the whole day, having also done a talk for us the night before at Warwick School. We think she inspired a few more of our youngsters to go adventuring and get kayaking!

The day was a wonderful celebration of everything that is best about our group: a real sense of community, formal ceremony alongside informal fun, volunteers working together but with the focus still on the youngsters getting outside and building real skills for life!

We hope everyone will continue to support us as we take a breath and then embark on the final phase of our project, the renovation of our old hut into a new boathouse’

Janette Eslick, New HQ Fundraiser

During the afternoon there was an ‘open house’ at TS Norton whilst youngsters in the group went off for an afternoon of fun scouting adventures around the park and on the river. The youngsters were really excited to get to play on the water with Sal Montgomery, who spent the rest of the day in her kayak on the river, spotting the winner of the duck race and having the best time with all the youngsters.

'Small Girl, Big Adventures'

We were delighted that Sal Montgomery joined us the night before our Gala Opening to talk to our Scouts, local canoe clubs and other youngsters, local groups and organisations. Everyone was inspired to hear how she has gone from learning to paddle at Scout camp to leading kayaking expeditions for Steve Backshall and throwing herself off huge waterfalls in a kayak!