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Bromley reunion for "riotous" boys club

PUBLISHED: 12:05 03 November 2010

The boys have Christmas drinks, L-R Alan Tucknott, Bernard Figg, Michael Boyer, Dennis Humble and Chris Saunter.

The boys have Christmas drinks, L-R Alan Tucknott, Bernard Figg, Michael Boyer, Dennis Humble and Chris Saunter.

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A former scout is searching for past colleagues for a reunion following the death of his canoe club's intrepid leader.

In October 1951, an energetic 19-year-old named Dennis Humble called a meeting of all Bromley scouts over the age of 15. Despite the fact that Bromley is a suburb 10 miles from the nearest navigable water, Mr Humble proposed to set up a Scout Canoe Club and the group set about building their own fleet of canoes.

Mr Humble died in September in Canada, aged 79, and since then one member, John Griffin, has set out to organise a reunion.

Mr Griffin, who now lives in Southampton with his wife Mary, said: “Since Dennis’s death I have been trying to contact the old lads, but it’s hard because we haven’t met since it fell apart almost 60 years ago.

“We were a riotous bunch, and Dennis Humble was the funny bloke who got us all motivated.”

He added: “I still hold the club log book, and a fascinating read it is, running to some 240 pages with photos and attachments. Those I have been in contact with have agreed that we should deposit it with Bromley Public Library.

“But before that it has been suggested that we should hold an informal reunion, so we can swap tall stories and drink a toast to our Dear Departed Leader.”

The club flourished under its captain, Mr Humble, with members hauling carts through the streets of Bromley collecting jam jars and newspapers to sell to raise money for materials.

The lads soon had a fleet of vessels, and hired a furniture van to ferry them to their summer base at Golden Green, on the River Medway, and their winter base on a sailing barge in Tonbridge.

Towards the end of 1953, the club was wound up as its members went off to university or for National Service. Meanwhile, Mr Humble immersed himself in the Bromley jazz and skiffle scene, performing as a member of the Seven Sinners. Mr Griffin wants to track down John Nash, Raymond Russell, Alan Phillips, Graham Castle, Peter Saunter, Phil Treacher, Tony Greere, Bernard Speight and Paul Keen. If you have any information that could help Mr Griffin, call 02380 769 499 or email marygriffin@waitrose.com.

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