Eunice Hill

 

Eunice’s scouting career spanned 57 years. She was first recruited by Ken Lightfoot, the then Group Scout Leader, in September 1958, to become an Assistant Cub Scout Leader at 5th Greenford (All Hallows) Scout Group. Eunice held this role for 5 years and stepped down when she married Mike in June 1963.

A few months earlier Eunice joined the District Scout Fellowship and has continued to be a member of it and its reincarnation, Scout Active Support, ever since. Eunice would, like most other leaders, get involved in helping out at district events such as the Cycle Point-to-Point and Handicraft competitions as well as many others.

With her secretarial skills, including shorthand note taking, Eunice became the minute secretary for the District Executive Committee in the mid-1960s. Charlie Lang, the then Assistant District Commissioner (Rover Scouts), would pick Eunice up on his motor bike and take her to and from the meetings on his pillion.

During the 1970s, Ken Lightfoot, who was now District Commissioner, formed a fundraising committee to build a new district headquarters. Eunice was a key player on this committee and her organisational skills came in very useful.  Is it co-incidental that the HQ was built in Hill Rise?  Eunice was a one of the main organisers for the District Camp and Donkey Derby held in Ravenour Park as a fund raiser for the building. The campsite was situated where we hold our St. George’s Day service nowadays.

In June 1974 Eunice became a full member of the District Executive Committee taking on the responsibilities of a charity trustee; and twenty years later she took on the role of leading the committee as the District Chairman – a position she held for 5 years. Since then Eunice has served the District as the Deputy District Chairman standing in for the Chairman in his absence and taking on specific responsibilities.

When the District celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1983, Eunice was one of the main organisers of the 50th anniversary Dance held at the Excelsior Hotel, once again putting her organisational and administrative expertise to good use.

Eunice also chaired the District Appointments Committee from around 1990 until October 2005 ensuring that all adults that joined our movement were suitable people and were joining for the right reasons.

One responsibility that Eunice took very seriously was recognising those that had passed away. It was Eunice herself that introduced the In Memoriam section during the district’s St. George’s Day service. She would collate the names and service of those Called to a Higher Service during the preceding year and read out their names with a proud and respectful tone, pausing for thought between each and every one. Eunice would hand write letters of condolences on behalf of the district to relatives of some of these people especially as she probably knew most of them personally.

Eunice was recognised for her services to Scouting by the Chief Scout. She received the Medal of Merit in November 1984 and was awarded the Silver Acorn, for specially distinguished service, on St. George’s Day 2006. In 2008 Eunice received the Chief Scout’s 50 Years Service Award.

Eunice was also recognised by Greenford & District making her a District Vice-President in 1999.

Eunice was also a very good cook and loved baking. Her culinary creations have fed many of us over the years whether it was at a Scout Fellowship or Active Support event or catering for other activities such as working parties at Southall Activity Centre. Where ever it was the food was always second to none and very welcome.

Eunice suffered a stroke in November 2005. After a spell recuperating she was back to, almost, her old self. Unfortunately, though, she was no longer allowed to drive which was a big blow for Eunice. However, Mike stepped up and effectively became Eunice’s taxi driver. Ensuring that his diary was free when Eunice had something on, Mike ensured that Eunice could continue with her life as much as possible. Mike would drive Eunice to meetings, rehearsals, Fellowship and SAS gatherings, quite often waiting in the car or side rooms for her. Eunice loved and respected Mike for his devotion to her.

Eunice, however, was probably best known to the majority of us for her involvement in the Greenford Gang Show, which she loved. Eunice’s association with Gang Show started in 1961 at All Hallows church hall where she would make the tea for Sunday rehearsals. Eunice met Mike, the love of her life, at Gang Show. For 49 years, Eunice took on behind the scenes and administrative roles for Gang Show including Prompt and being on the show committee. She even made the odd appearance on stage every now and then. Everyone will have their own memories of Eunice at Gang Show like her chasing a half-naked Eddy into the wardrobe or her teaching the boys how to walk like proper ladies in high heels for a number.

Eunice had a wicked sense of humour, was always encouraging and understanding and had a wonderful way of being able to relate to the young people and treat them with the respect they wanted and always got it back in return. She was always calm in a crisis and was very good at playing referee at department meetings. She was one of the few people that I had seen give producer Malcolm Cantwell a piece of her mind and not get a mouthful back.

She loved the show and she loved the people she worked with and was always full of praise for all the cast even when you could hear her prompting from the wings. She always understood that although it may not have been her taste, the show has to move with the times, as the cast did, and not try and stay in the past.

Eunice has touched many young people’s lives and they remember her long into their adulthood.

Eunice will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

 

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