Brownie pack ends as Brown Owl flies nest

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IT’S the end of an era for 20th St David’s Brownies in Fleetwood.

Mavis Gratrix, the Brown Owl who has led the pack for the last 33 years, is having to retire because she has nearly reached the age of 65.

And with assistant leaders Mary Thomas (Tawny Owl) and Veronica Goodfellow following suite, the group, based at St David’s Church on Larkholme Lane, is having to close because they can’t find a successor.

Mavis, 64, from Homestead Drive, Fleetwood, has overseen generations of Fleetwood’s Brownies over the past three decades.

She told the Weekly News: “We have put flyers up in the town and in schools but nobody has come forward.

“They are all closing down and there is nobody wanting to take over because of their commitments.

“There is only St Edmund’s on Melbourne Avenue left who have Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.”

The majority of the children are 10-years-old and will join the Guides, but nobody is left to help the next generation of Brownies.

But despite the sadness hanging over the group, the last meeting held at St David’s involved a celebration of Mrs Gratrix’s 33 years in the organisation.

Mavis and Mary were presented with flowers on their final night last Thursday and Mary, 64, of Penrhos Avenue, said: “It was quite emotional. I’ve really enjoyed being involved over the years.”

Mavis added: “It was a very sad day, but I’m proud of myself and I think I have done something for the community.

“I do a day at the RNLI shop in Fleetwood, and I’ll continue to do that.”

Mavis is married to Stuart Gratrix, who is also well known for his community work with the Fleetwood and Cleveleys Lions.

Brownie Laura Simey, aged nine, said: “It’s really sad to think it won’t keep going.”

Joanna Wells, county commissioner for Girl Guiding Lancashire West, said: “Mavis has given an enormous amount to the girls and young women of Fleetwood in the 33 years.

“She has been leading Brownies and we are incredibly grateful for everything she has done.

“Guiding is entirely run by volunteers and without their dedication we would not be able to offer local girls and young women the huge range of opportunities open to them from pack holidays and adventures to badge work.”

“Girls gain so much from being involved with guiding and it’s a shame that we have been unable to find a new leader for the 20th St David’s Brownies.”

If anyone would like to take on the challenge of running the 20th St David’s Brownies they should contact Mavis on (01253) 875548.