top of page

Our History

3rd5th logo final.png



As the name suggests the Group is made up of two former Scout Groups: 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 (DC) had decided to close 3rd. He managed to persuade the DC to let him get the Group going again, but they insisted that 3rd and 5th come together. All was started afresh in the Manor Rd HQ, still used today. Previous problems resulted in the two groups shrinking with only around 5 scouts attending 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!
Old canoes flourished, restored and camping equipment repaired, a competition was held for a Group logo and it (featuring white sailing dinghy) was designed by a scout called Christopher O'Leary. 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.
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 first two sailing dinghies. The scouts restored 28 old canoes to floating standard. There was a grand launching ceremony at Brooklands with Alan Warren (Olympic silver sailing medallist) cutting a ribbon sending a restored canoe into the 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, however it was often suggested to Tom that we ought to consider changing to Sea Scouts because of all the Group water activities. Hence, in the late 80s, 3rd / 5th Lancing became a Sea Scout Group. So good were the Group standards, we were asked to apply for Royal Navy Recognition. Only 101 groups are allowed to be recognised. 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, therefore it was removed, and the money diverted to construct the building you see today. We were also able to buy our safety RIB that we still call 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 Kayaking 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 a deep unused ditch to one side, which was filled with rubble from 7 demolished garages. When it opened around 1991, 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, which were paraded down the Adur River with the lead boat displaying our flag.
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.
3rd / 5th Lancing tends to be one of the few groups to retain leaders' long term. It is recognised in West Sussex as one of the best run and most progressive groups. An accolade to all Group members - Leaders, Scouts, Cubs, Beavers or one of our Squirrel Scouts.

Tom Smith - aka Captain Chaos


For further information, please contact our Group Lead Volunteers:

bottom of page