RIP Brian Bolley and Pat Wyatt and thank you. St John’s Scouts & Guides during the 1960s to 2020s.

This page is dedicated to Brian Bolley and Pat Wyatt who were both Group Scout Leaders of the 66th St John’s Scout Group. Pat sadly died on the 9th September 2021 after a lifetime of community service and just like Brian Bolley before her who died in Autumn 2003 they were both Group Scout Leaders of 66th St Johns, they were both heavily involved with the church and they both helped other organisations and their local roads with Pat helping with Guides as well.  It’s hard to find the words to really capture how great these people were, today people who aren’t far off retirement age have shared thanks to Pat who was their cub leader during the 1970s and they’ve since been lifelong scouters themselves for other Fishponds groups including All Saints Church 13th Scout Group.  We can only say how grateful we were to have been raised through scouting by Pat and Brian and other great leaders who followed them. Their names will be spoken about for many years to come, they were pillars of the Fishponds community and they were and others still are selfless champions who live and lived for the good they could and can offer to other people. Pat loved her annual camps at Badminton Estate with the Guides and where boys and men could only visit between 9am and 6pm because at the time it was girls only but Pat soon put the Scouts to work teaching the Guides pioneering to create activity structures and as society progressed girls were allowed to join the scouts as well, both Scouts and Guides met regularly for night hikes in the South Gloucestershire countryside because Toni who was a lifelong Guide leader was also best of friends with Pat, the 66th is after all one huge family. 

Brian (Chair) and Pat (GSL) with Nicky (Cub Leader) picture taken during the early 1990s.

66th St John’s Scouts and Guides reached centenary in 2015 with now Carol Gollop as the GSL and like Brian and Pat who led the group for decades, Carol has been helping to lead a section of the group since the early 1980s and her daughter Gemma helps lead today and Dave Higham has been helping to lead since the early 90s as well. Pat’s passing was also on the date the Scouting Movement launched Squirrels for ages 4 and 5 to begin their scouting journeys. Pat would have loved seeing the 66th one day launch Squirrels, hopefully the right community leaders will one day come forward just like Sue Kingdom did during the Mid 1980s to launch Beavers. Learn about Squirrels here

The 66th peaked in terms of units in 1991 when Mark Gollop set up a new Venture Scout Unit which was quickly named Aquila VSU, (Latin for Eagle) by a venture who was studying linguistics.
Beavers were added to Cubs and Scouts at St John’s from 1985 shortly after St John’s left their scout hut at Beechen Drive in Hillfields Estate and moved to St John’s Church Hall on Lodge Causeway where a second cub unit and the Brownies and Guides were already well established in the church hall.

With the established Aquila VSU saw the first Beavers come all the way through the 66th from joining aged 6 to completion at aged 20 and a fantastic journey of self development, exploration and achievements along the way and with some even attending the Palaces to collect their Queen Scouts Awards and Gold DofE Award as well.

venturesMark Gollop with some of the first Aquila members including Melissa who has also always helped lead the 66th

The Brownies and Guides also helped to establish Aquila VSU and for several years it all worked really well, however from 1996 things didn’t work out well for the future of Aquila, most people had completed their amazing journey, some had now chosen to live around the world and many were attending or had completed university and lived in other cities.  It was decided to temporarily close Aquila for a year until more Scouts and Guides were at an age to join because the younger sections had a gap in them, but with changes to the Scout and Guide Movements came the introduction of Explorer Scouts and now Rangers had changed as well and Young Leaders were introduced. Aquila unfortunately stayed closed and sadly passed in to history but for those of us who attended it will also be an entirely grateful experience and Mark Gollop in particular will always be appreciated along with all the other leaders with full support from Brian Bolley and Pat Wyatt as GSLs.

St John’s Scout and Guides has evolved and the leaders who volunteer their time to this amazing group at St John’s Church Hall are worth their weight in gold.
Local scouting in Fishponds is the one youth membership which people can rely on, run by selfless leaders who never receive a penny for their services and live as volunteers to provide experiences for others as a way of life. A youth group is only ever as good as its leaders and St Johns Scouts and Guides with other groups in the area are giant local champions of the community.

Thank you Pat Wyatt and Brian Bolley for everything and all other leaders past and present.

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