Memories from Pat Guard

I was sitting at home this grey Sunday morning reading the memories of Wesley Hall with a tear in my eye if I’m honest.
I hadn’t thought I had anything to offer as I wasn’t specifically involved with Wesley Hall as I wasn’t a Brownie or Guide and didn’t attend the church there.

But as I read on memories flooded back.  Memories of my friendship with Janet Nichols nee Hogger from when we were at ‘big’ school together, who drew me into her circle of friends linked to Wesley Hall (otherwise I may still be sitting at home, I was rather shy then, no really, I was !). Memories of spending many an evening at ‘The Crypt’ in Woolwich with that same circle of friends, one of whom was to become my husband, Kevin, who was a Scout and Venture Scout at Wesley Hall.  The many parties we used to have with fun and laughter being the name of the game, good clean fun I might add.

Memories of a trip to Germany with them in 1973 (I think), with lots of teasing that I would have to dig my own loo and that I wouldn’t be able to plug in my hair dyer, horror of horrors!!.  Only to find when I got there a beautiful block of flushing loos and shiny showers. Such fun we had.

As Terry Clarke mentioned in his post, as we married and had children our lives took differing paths, but we were always included in functions at Wesley Hall and went to the Gang Show most years.

Over the last 3 years, the friendships forged at that time have really come to the fore when Kevin, my husband, was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Now this is not a tale of woe, I can assure you, as from the moment word got out, ALL of these friends without exception were there to support us and have continued to do so. I could not agree more that the friendships we have, have sustained over the years, it doesn’t matter what gaps there have been, when we meet, it’s as if it was yesterday.

When Karen (Gilham) and I decided to trek a part of the Great Wall of China in aid of our chosen charities, I was somewhat daunted by the thought of how much money I would need to raise in order to go.  Well, I needn’t have worried as once again  – ALL of these friends plus many, many more, were there to support us with their time and money and Karen and I had the time of our lives arranging fundraisers.  I laughed until I cried on occasion, and it was the most amazing experience of a lifetime.

I am very pleased to say our friendships, if anything, are stronger: we meet, remember, laugh, support and share and I feel very privileged to have been, and still be, a part of it all.

Pat Gaurd

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