As the name suggests the Group is made up of two: 3rd Lancing and 5th Lancing (St. James). 3rd was based in the present Manor Road hut and 5th in the Church Hall at the bottom of Mill Road. These two were fierce rivals and oddly enough never did much together. Tom Smith (Captain Chaos) is our longest 3rd leader and Alex McGregor (Uncle Nasty) from the 5th - Alex is also the longest serving leader in the Group.
The amalgamation of the two was in the early 1980's. Tom had had to work away and when he returned found for various reasons, that the District Commissioner had decided to close 3rd. He managed to persuade the DC to let him get the Group going again, but with the DC insistence that 3rd and 5th come together. All was started afresh in the Manor Rd, HQ. Because of previous problems the two groups had shrunk and there were only around 5 scouts on the first night. Leaders also decided to change to the red, blue and white neckerchiefs worn today. The Group identification numbers were left as two should it be decided to split again. Many ask why 3rd / 5th? Now you know!
All flourished, old canoes restored and camping equipment repaired. A competition was held for a Group logo and it was designed by a scout called Christopher O'Leary. This is the white dinghy one on the tea shirts.
The Beavers came about in the late eighties and a Scout mother called Karen Currey was persuaded to start it. She was followed by Dave and Brenda Cook who laid the framework of the very successful section we know today. Their Beaver banner is the one displayed in the hall roof.
Tom was a water enthusiast and agreement was reached to use Brooklands Lake for canoeing and sailing using his old dinghy. However the Lancing and Sompting Lions gave a grant of £250 which bought our two first sailing dinghies. The scouts restored 28 old canoes to floating standard. Most would never pass today's inspections. There was actually a grand launching ceremony at Brooklands with Alan Warren, Olympic silver sailing medallist cutting a ribbon sending a restored canoe into the clear blue waters - Did I say that! Sorry, murky brown waters of Brooklands. The fantastic fleet we have now is a far cry from the rag tag collection of then and we no longer have ex Titanic life jackets.
Initially we were land scouts wearing green shirts, always happy that way. However at that point we belonged to Worthing District and it was often suggested to Tom at GSL meetings that it ought to be considered changing to sea scouts because of all the Group water activities. Tom could not see any benefit in it to begin with but was eventually persuaded as told financial grants were available - not actually true as discovered. So in the late nineteen eighties 3rd / 5th Lancing became a sea scout group. So good was Group standards, we were asked to apply for Royal Navy Recognition. There is only allowed 101 groups to be in it. We passed the initial inspection and were accepted in record time.
With 5th came Streamside, quite different to it is today. It was a decaying old railway carriage with mink and rats as well as campers. A large grant was obtained for a new boat fleet, but the carriage was in such a bad state after numerous vandal attacks, that the money was diverted to build what you see today. The tax reclaimed enabled us to buy new our safety RIB craft we know as The Yellow Peril! The building was a self build project with people like Alan Luke, John Farrow and Richard Bellringer almost living there. It was opened in September 1994.
The Boat Compound was a rough bit of ground that the farmer kindly let us have. Leaders and parents spent time up there cutting and levelling, There was a deep unused ditch to one side which was filled with rubble from 7 demolished garages. The perimeter fence came from the building site in Tower Road that we now know as Hurstfield. When it opened around 1991 ish, the changing room was a yellow box off the back of a Telecom van. Money was raised and the wooden changing rooms were bought, followed later by the concrete store to one side. When the compound officially opened we had over 200 scout canoes and boats parade past with the lead boat displaying our flag. Plus some standard chaos as usual!
The HQ has changed dramatically since the start. Only the main building was there, no workshop, store or garages. At one time an old mobile home was at the back serving as both workshop and Venture Scout meeting place. Tom bent his old Fiesta using it to push the home onto a scrap lorry when finally disposed of. Then the Land Rover arrived late!
3rd / 5th Lancing tends to be one of the few groups to retain leaders' long term. It is recognised in the West Sussex County as one of the best run and most progressive groups. An accolade to all Group members, whether adult, Explorer, Scout, Cub or Beaver.
Well hope this was of interest. If not maybe helped you to sleep. Anyone wanting any more information, please contact me.
Tom Smith - aka Captain Chaos
For further information please call / email the Group Scout Leader:
Alan Luke 01903 763489 or 07746744587 or E-mail