Dutch scouts go English in Epsom & Ewell
For over 35 years a close friendship has existed between the 1st Cuddington Sea Scouts in Epsom & Ewell District and the Karel Doorman Zeeverkenners Groep of Bergen Op Zoom in the southern Netherlands. The roots of the relationship go back to the 2nd World War, Arnhem, disrupted schooling and a Royal Navy Admiral.
The relationship centres around reciprocal visits on a 3 or 4 yearly basis; and 2019 saw the last pre-pandemic visit. The Groups kept in touch over lockdown (and they had a brief joint paddle-boarding session with a motorcycling leader in 2020), but there was incredible excitement when at the end of April 2023, 74 Dutch Sea Scouts and leaders arrived in a double decker coach for their 12th visit.
Their journey had taken them via a day trip to Canterbury and they arrived to meet the 1st Cuddington team who were cooking dinner. Over the course of the week they had a week with joint boating at the Warspite Water Activity Centre on the Thames; a hike down (and up) Box Hill with Warspite Scouts and Explorers, London Zoo, a day of boating at the Dockland Scout Project in central London, kipping on a ship in the West India Dock, exploring London, swimming in Guildford, widegames with Explorers, joint discos and much more.
Neighbours at 2nd Cuddington provided accommodation for the girls whilst the Dockland Scout Project supplied both accommodation and a day of boating in the shadow of Canary Wharf; there was also support from Scout partners at Ajax Sea Scouts
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