www.barrowvoice.co.uk - First Publised 1975
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1st Barrow Brownies Brown Owl, Anne Wilson, retires.

At Christmas the 1st Barrow Brownies said a sad farewell to Brown Owl Anne Wilson, who is retiring after over 20 years of involvement with Girlguiding.

Barrow resident and mum to six girls, Anne started her Girlguiding journey when her eldest daughter, Amy, joined Guides. After encouragement from the then Brown Owl, Yvonne Green, Anne took her leadership qualification and became a Brown Owl herself. Anne has been Brown Owl for 16 years; running the group alongside a full-time job and being mum, and now grandma, to her girls.

Anne says she has loved every minute of being a Brown Owl, but some key moments stand out. Fond memories will be the annual Brownies’ canoeing trip, where she regularly joined in, jumping into the River Soar at the end with the girls! Anne led a number of PGL trips, which are educational activity courses, fantastic for building the girls’ confidence, team building skills and resilience whatever the weather. Anne says the highlight of these weekends was seeing the girls overcome challenges, such as the high ropes and abseiling, as well as dealing with what, for many girls, was their first weekend away from home. Often these trips revealed previously hidden strengths, with the quieter Brownies often being the most confident on some of the more challenging activities. The girls all encouraged each other too; qualities that epitomise what Guiding stands for. For Anne’s final trip as Brown Owl, the current 1st Barrow Brownies went on a sleepover, literally sleeping under the planets, at the National Space Centre.

The Brownies said goodbye to Anne with a book of memories, which Brownies past and present had contributed to, as well as a silver owl necklace, flowers, chocolates and Prosecco. Santa himself even stopped by on Anne’s final Brownie meeting! Anne’s plans for Tuesday evenings will now be putting her feet up with a cup of tea, or well-deserved glass of wine, but she says, “It’s a fantastic way to enjoy new experiences while putting something back into the community and I would recommend it to anyone”.

Anne Wilson has given generations of girls wonderful opportunities and experiences and will be hugely missed by both the girls and their parents. In the words of the Brownie Promise, Anne has certainly served her community, done her best, thought of others and done many a good turn! Thank you Anne.

Eve Rock (Barn Owl, First Barrow Brownies)