Cash boost for event to mark anniversary of First World War

Basingstoke Gazette: Representatives from Hook Scouts with Smithie LED directors Shane and Adele Hilden, and borough Mayor Cllr Dan Putty Buy this photo Representatives from Hook Scouts with Smithie LED directors Shane and Adele Hilden, and borough Mayor Cllr Dan Putty

A SCOUT group in Hook has received a cash boost for a special event to mark the outbreak of the First World War – after they were snubbed by local parish councillors.

As previously reported in The Gazette, members of Hook Parish Council voted by a majority to turn down a request for £500 from the 7th Bramshill (Hook) Scout Group.

The majority of councillors thought the tone of the event, featuring fairground rides and cream teas, was “inappropriate” – leaving the Scouts scrabbling for ideas to raise the cash.

But help has arrived in the form of Shane Hilden, managing director of Smithie LED, an electrical goods business based in Basingstoke.

He read the story in The Gazette and got in touch with the group, before handing over a cheque for £500 when his new Smithie LED Lighting & Electrical appliance Depot showroom opened, in Morse Road, on West Ham industrial estate, in Basingstoke on May 5.

Speaking about the parish council snub, Mr Hilden said: “The kids should understand how and why the war started, so I thought it was a little bit harsh that the parish council said no.”

Cub Scout leader Sue Hedges said: “It was amazing and it was so kind of him. It was a really lovely gesture and it is gratefully appreciated.”

She said that the group had originally applied for the cash from Councillor Jonathan Glen, the district and county councillor for Hook, and then applied for match funding from the parish council. While the parish council voted against the measure, Cllr Glen did hand over £500.

The WW1 event, called The Village Gathering, will take place at the Scouts base in Raven Road, Hook, on Saturday, August 30.

According to the group’s website, it wants children attending to dress up in clothes from the period and the day will also include stalls, games, arena displays, fairground rides and bouncy castles.

Mrs Hedges said a reason for holding the event was the contribution that the Scouts made during the First World War, in working on the land and supporting coastal and railway line watches.

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