Voluntary service with a smile

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BETWEEN them they have given more than 500 years service.

The trustees and volunteers at the Barrwood give their time to maintain the place which has shaped the lives of tens of thousands of young people.

Volunters at work at Barrwood.

Volunters at work at Barrwood.

With an average age of 71, the men and women handle the administration, repairs and renovation of the 100 acre site.

As well as building a footpath which travels up a steep incline, creating new campsites and renovating composting toilets the Wednesday volunteers also extended the water supply over a distance of 400m – by hand.

This back-breaking work was carried out by the team using spades to dig a narrow trench into which a pipe was placed.

It means that there is now running water on the far side of Barrwood for the first time.

But as Hamish Scott (64), chairman of the Barrwood Trust, who joined the movement in 1961 when he was seven, said: “This is what we do. I became a Wednesday volunteer in 2015 after I retired.

“I’m the unskilled labourer. The work of all the volunteers makes me feel very proud. The feeling of camaraderie is the best thing about the group.”

Fellow Wednesday volunteer Ian Tait (73), was part of the 40th Falkirk Scout Group for 38 years before becoming chairman of Falkirk District for 15 years.

“My special memories are of camping at the Barrwood,” he said.

“I joined the Wednesday volunteers approximately 10 years ago but have been volunteer working at the Barrwood on a regular basis for the last 52 years.

“In the group we all give our time to improve the Barrwood campsite so other Scouts can enjoy even better what we enjoyed as Scouts.”

George McFarlane joined the 35th Cubs when he was seven in 1949. After progressing through the Scouts he became a member of the 1st Falkirk Rovers, a few of whom still hike and camp together on a regular basis. He said: “It must be around 10 years that I have been enjoying the company and cameraderie of the Wednesday work team building and maintaining projects in Barrwood such as the bivvi, the canoe deck at the reservoir and many more things team has been involved in.”

Next week: Meet more of the team.