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Guided back in time - Girl Guides experience life on the home front

PUBLISHED: 15:52 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:52 30 August 2017

Girl Guides taking part in a historical camp at Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse. Picture: Ian Burt

Girl Guides taking part in a historical camp at Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A group of Girl Guides were taken back in time to experience what life was like for their predecessors in the 1940s.

The history-themed camp at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse coincided with the museum’s own 1940s Village at War event, which showcased what life was like on the home front.

The young campers supported the preparations for the event and were completely immersed in the era, including having to cook their meals over an open fire, dress in clothes of the era, and deal with life without electricity and other modern facilities.

Diana Howes, guide leader and camp captain, said that the goal was to give the girls the chance to learn what it was like for the people who stayed at home during the war and learn about the history of Girl Guiding.

“This isn’t about what was going on in Germany or about the military,” she said. “It is about what was going on back at home. The girls that were their age would have been helping to take care of the families as well as working on the farms and helping out within the community. They got to learn a lot of new skills but they also found out a lot about guiding heritage.

“We did everything we could to make it as authentic as possible; we had only one tap, no phones and no electricity, the girls even packed in suitcases from that time period.

“We try to show them that the image of girls in history has been betrayed and it’s made to look like they just stayed at home and looked after the family but we are trying to say this is what girls were doing. The girls were doing things for themselves. We want to inspire them to be strong and independent women and show that it is possible to learn valuable lessons from that old lifestyle.”

It was the tenth year that the camp had taken place and having attended the original camp as a guide in 2007, Ms Howe said she felt honoured to introduce it to a new generation.

“It’s a wonderful project,” she said. “I was there as a 13 year old when we first ran it and now we’ve got this whole new generation of young guides and they are saying the same things that I did 13 years ago about how good it is to meet new friends, try new things and discover new skills – it has been lovely to hear.”

For information on Girl Guides in Norfolk visit their website.

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