Tributes to Guide leader

Audrey Dowson
Audrey Dowson

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Brownie and Guide leader who died aged 84.

Audrey Dowson (nee Sewell) worked over four decades setting up and running Brownie and Guide groups in Hartlepool.

The mum of three became involved in the Brownie and Cubs movement after becoming a much respected member of St Luke’s Church in Hartlepool and her children joined the sessions.

In the mid-sixties, when the pack leader of the 29th Hartlepool (St Luke’s) Brownies left to get married, Audrey took over as Brown Owl, a role she continued until she retired in 1992.

Then in the late-sixties, owing to the large waiting list for the 29th Brownies, Audrey set up another Brownie pack in Thornhill Special School.

The group eventually moved to Sacred Heart School when the special school moved to High Tunstall School.

Audrey remained as Brown Owl of the Thornhill pack for almost 15 years until a former 29th Brownie and Guide was trained to take over.

During her time as Brown Owl, Audrey organised many pack holidays and attended Guide camps and holidays both in the UK and abroad.

Former St Luke’s churchwarden, Pat Gibson, who herself is a former Guide leader, says Audrey was one of the first Guiders in Hartlepool to get her pack holiday licence.

“I think it would be in 1968,” she said. “At Division level Audrey was also District Commissioner, Pack Holiday Adviser, the Division Representative on the Egton House (County Guide House) Committee, and Division Treasurer.

“While at county level she was pack holiday adviser, adviser for girls with disabilities, and a trainer for the Brownie Guide section.”

In addition to this long list of responsibilities, Audrey was booking secretary for Egton Guide House, a role she continued until she was unable to continue because of illness.

She was a vice president of Cleveland Guide Association and was awarded the county Good Service Medal, in addition to those awarded by the national organisation. After retiring from the uniformed section of the movement Audrey became an active member of the Trefoil Guild, an international organisation mostly made up of women and men who have been and still are connected with Guiding and Scouting.

She came to Hartlepool when she married her husband Albert and was a life-long and much respected member of St Luke’s Church, off Hart Lane.

In later years, Audrey was also involved with the local branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Audrey, formerly of Ryhill Gardens and a resident of Elwick Grange Care, died at Warrior Park Care Home, Seaton Carew, on October 11.

Her funeral was held at Stranton Grange Crematorium.