Mystery of girlguiding flag is solved

The Bedford Division flag
The Bedford Division flag

The 30-year-old mystery of a Bedford flag was solved when guides joined an international celebration.

Bedford Division Girlguiding Rangers unit celebrated World Thinking Day on Tuesday, February 21, but the event was a bit different this year.

Celebrated since 1926, World Thinking Day is a day of international friendship, speaking out on issues that affect girls and young women and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.

The Bedford group were thinking not only of their sisters around the world but also about their mystery flag.

It Bedford Division flag had been discovered in a cupboard at St Andrew’s Church, Kimbolton Road, in 1999, and its origins were a mystery.

The Rangers adopted the beautifully handmade and embroidered flag as their own and have used it at ceremonial occasions since then.

But it was during such an event in 2016, out of the blue, the unusual flag was recognised by a member of the Bedfordshire Girlguides as one that had been thought lost in 1985.

With some detective work, the creator Julie Cunliffe was tracked down and attended this year’s World Thinking Day celebrations to finally be reunited with her flag.

Julie designed and made the flag in 1980, a labour of love which had taken 12 months to complete. On leaving the Bedford 1st Division Rangers, who were based in Wotton in 1985, Julie never saw the flag again.

However, its home between 1985 and 1999 still remains a mystery.

On seeing her flag again for the first time in more than 30 years Julie was delighted.

She said: “Seeing the flag again brings back so many happy memories of the time I spent in Guiding.

“I often thought about what happened to it and it is amazing to see it after all these year’s’.

The current crop of Rangers will now be taking up the challenge to see if they can discover the rest of its 35-year journey.

Girlguiding Bedfordshire is a charity and is looking for volunteers to help the thousands of girls who take part.

If you feel you could get involved they would love to hear from you. Please call 0800 169 5901 or visit

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