Girl Guides invited spectators to join in a traditional conga at a fun-filled event to launch the longest road in Europe to be named after the Scouting movement’s famous founder.
Baden-Powell Way was officially opened on Saturday by Lord Robert Baden-Powell’s grand-daughter, Gillian Clay, in a ceremony attended by VIPS, town and county councillors, residents of the new Kings Reach Estate and Biggleswade and District Scouts.
Gillian’s great nephew and niece, seven-year-old Beaver Scout Oscar Clay and his sister Anna, six, then unveiled the commemorative panel that will be on permanent display on the Estate.
Local Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides took part in a soap box derby with go-kart races watched by Biggleswade mayor Mrs Hazel Ramsay, Lord Lieutenant Helen Nellis and High Sheriff Isabelle, Countess of Errol.
Gillian said millions of people around the world were living ‘the Baden-Powell way’ for fulfilment and happiness.
She added it gave her great pleasure to name the road in memory of her grandfather, describing it as ”a tribute to the townsfolk of Biggleswade.”
After the unveiling, the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff presented certificates to all the uniformed youngsters who had taken part.
Talking about the importance of Scouts, Helen – who is also patron of Youth United – said: “Through camping, outdoor activities and sociability, the Scouting movement teaches young people confidence, team work and high self esteem which are qualities you need in life.
“Children learn early on about helping their community.”
Scout district commissioner Gerry Pope said: “It’s fantastic that a road in Biggleswade has been named after the founder of the Scouting movement. It will hopefully draw people into the area and we are very proud to have the only Baden-Powell Way in the UK.”
Biggleswade town counsellor Tim Woodward added: “Baden-Powell Way is down to the leadership of the Biggleswade Scout Group which suppports the community and has a float in the town carnival every year.”
The road is part of a number on the new estate to be named after local Cub Scout groups by Central Beds Council.
These include Planets Way, Jupiter Way, Gemini Lane, Pluto Drive, Mercury Lane, Neptune Road and Eris Avenue.
Biggleswade renamed its Cub Scout groups during the space race of the 1960s with Scouts being called after astronauts (Urwin and Armstrong), Cubs after planets (Mars, Jupiter and Neptune) and Beavers after space programmes (Apollo, Gemini and Mercury).
The council made the decision to honour the contributions Scouts have made to the community after 100 trees were planted between Chambers Way and Saxon Way to commemorate the 2009 Cub Scout Jubilee.
Baden-Powell Way forms part of the Green Wheel Pathway round the town and is the longest Baden-Powell Way in Europe.
Worldwide it ranks alongside the Baden-Powell Trail in California, Lord Baden-Powell Drive in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, and Baden-Powell Drive in Cape Town, South Africa.
Youth United was launched in 2014 with the aim of bringing together the uniformed oganisations of young people in the district to pool resources and encourage more adult leaders to come forward.
Local community group ‘I Love Biggleswade’ has chosen Scouts and Guides as their 2016 charity.
> Biggleswade Scouts currently need new adult leaders.
For more information on the scouts visit www.scouts.org.uk/get-involved/groups/biggleswade