A day of festivities marked the long-awaited opening of a Borehamwood scout hut at the weekend.
Members of the 7th Borehamwood Scout Group were joined by dignitaries, family and friends to celebrate the opening of their new meeting place in Berwick Road after being left homeless for nearly two years.
As well as a disco, pop band, barbecue and plenty of champagne and lemonade, scout leaders, beavers, cubs and scouts had an emotional ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building named Denbigh Lodge, after scout leaders Carol and Len Denbigh.
Mrs Denbigh said: “We met up at Parkside School [in Aycliffe Road] and along with the Air Training Corps band marched to the new scout hall. When we arrived at the hall everyone was standing in the doorway, I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes it was a very emotional moment.
“We now have something to call our own. I just didn’t think this day would ever come - it has been a hard slog. There is still lots of work to do but thanks to the community getting together and with the help of our supporters and the group leaders we now have a lovely building.”
Rev Richard Leslie performed the blessing on the new hut with Hertsmere’s mayor Councillor Sandra Parnell, Elstree and Borehamwood’s mayor Councillor Farida Turner and high-ranking scouting figures joining the group in their celebrations.
Bob Bull the founding member of the 7th Borehamwood scouts who opened the old scout hut built by Len Denbigh 41 years ago, also attended the ceremony.
Children from the scout group were forced to leave their old building in Berwick Road in November 2006, to make way for a new housing development, now owned by William Sutton Homes.
The group had originally feared the hut would be knocked down with no replacement when housing association Ridgehill bought the land from Hertsmere Borough Council to build more housing. But in February 2007, a deal was struck meaning the council and Ridgehill paid for a meeting place to be built alongside the new homes on the site.
But this was not the only obstacle the group had to overcome. Since the demolition of the old building in March last year, the programme of work has been beset with problems, including a nine-month delay while electricity company EDF energy moved a high voltage cable.
Also, despite the hut being provided, the group had to raise £20,000 for a new kitchen, heating and other fixtures. The delays meant the children had to share the scout hall in Well End for nearly two years.
Dawn Barton, building project manager for the scout group was given an award of merit by Ivor Thomas, the county commissioner, for her dedication to the project. Speaking after the scouts’ first meeting in the new hut on Tuesday Ms Barton said: “I feel an immense amount of satisfaction knowing it was worth sticking with the building project. I did feel like throwing the towel in a few times but I’m glad I didn’t.”