BACK in the early 1980s, Natalie Ellis was busy amassing armfuls of Brownie badges of her own.
Now she is to be the ‘Brown Owl’ of the city’s newest pack, 1st Littlemore Brownies.
Miss Ellis lives in Littlemore and works for the careers service Adviza.
She said: “Littlemore has not had its own Brownie pack for a long time and girls wanting to join have had to travel to Kennington, Cowley or Blackbird Leys.
“So we are thrilled to announce the 1st Littlemore Brownies will start in March on a Tuesday evening at the village hall.
“We are looking forward to welcoming lots of girls into the Girlguiding family.”
Guiding began in the UK in 1910 after Robert Baden-Powell asked his sister Agnes to start a group for girls that would be run along similar lines to the Boy Scout movement he started.
Brownies, originally Rosebuds, began in 1914 for girls aged seven to 10.
Miss Ellis said: “The Brownies have changed in some ways since I was one as a child.
“They now wear very different uniforms for example, which are much more practical. But there are many things that remain the same, such as the ‘sixes’ they belong to, the badges they can work for, the fun they have and the sense of being part of a close-knit, special, group for girls.”
Miss Ellis is currently a volunteer helper at the 6th East Oxford Guides and Brownies, but says she is looking forward to taking charge of her own unit.
First on the list to join the 1st Littlemore Brownies are sisters Angel-Kay Parsons and Skye Mills.
Angel-Kay, nine, said: “I really want to be a Brownie. Some of my friends are and say it is really good. I love animals and can’t wait to do a badge in caring for them.”
Skye, eight, added: “I am looking forward to wearing my uniform and going camping. My friends say Brownies is really cool.”
Miss Ellis is now one of more than 1,000 volunteers looking after over 6,000 Guiding members in Oxfordshire, with hundreds more children on waiting lists until adult volunteers can be found.
Dr Kate Coldwell, District Commissioner for Shotover District, which is overseeing the launch of 1st Littlemore, said: “We are looking for girls to join 1st Littlemore Brownies and for volunteers to help us open new units in Littlemore and other areas. We would also like to open a Rainbow group in Littlemore too.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about 1st Littlemore Brownies, or becoming a Girlguiding UK volunteer, should email Kate Coldwell at ShotoverGirlguiding@ gmail.com, call 01865 434758, or go to oxfordshiregirlguiding.org.uk/