Messing about on the river

IT was a good team effort when members of the Luton branch of the Girls’ Nautical Training Corps took part in a national Blue Peter Challenge.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 12th November 2011, 8:38 am

But it was nothing to do with the world’s longest-running children’s TV show, which first aired in 1958 – six years after this picture was taken at Wardown Park lake.

The young ladies had to travel from Luton to Dunstable using as many different types of transport as they could.

Luton News photographer George Gurney, who became a well-known local figure during his many years on the paper, followed the girls’ progress after they left Waller Street on the start of their journey – being carried on chairs and poles by Sea Scouts.

As well as using paddle boats at Wardown, they were pushed in wheelbarrows along the paths bordering the lake. They also rigged up a bosun’s chair between two trees.

According to a report in the Tuesday Pictorial, which was then a sister paper of the Luton News, the only methods of transport that they overlooked were “roller-skates, a child’s scooter, a tricycle and the sort of trolley that small boys make from a box, two axles and four wheels”.

In the end, the girls found 13 different modes of transport during the event in June 1952.

The Tuesday Pictorial felt that they deserved to win the competition prize of a fortnight’s holiday aboard a cargo liner, but there is no record of whether they were successful.

> Were you a member of the Girls’ Nautical Training Corps in Luton and did you take part in the Blue Peter Challenge? Drop us a line – we’d love to read your memories.