New photographic display celebrates a century of Girlguiding in Galashiels

Girlguiding in Galashiels is marking its 100th birthday –as members and volunteers get prepared for another century ahead.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 31st May 2021, 4:01 pm
Irene Sandie in Bank Street. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Irene Sandie in Bank Street. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

The youth organisation for girls was established in Galashiels back in 1920, a decade after girlguiding was founded.

For obvious reasons the centenary celebrations were put on hold last year.

Now a photographic window display highlighting its members’ endeavours and adventures over the decades is on display at 20 Bank Street.

Irene Sandie beside a display in the shopfront window in Bank Street. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

And while Guides, Brownies, Rangers and Rainbows look back there’s also an appeal for new members and adult volunteers to join up, with total membership at various units across the town now standing at just under 200.

There’s much to recommend girlguiding, says Irene Sandie, a county admin worker and former guide leader, who said: “We had a day last year when we took all the girls, of all ages, and had a morning at the cinema and then planted a tree in Stirling Square to mark the 100th birthday and had party in the afternoon – that was in March just before the first lockdown.

“We had other things planned but we had to put them on hold and I’m not sure if they will happen or not.

“During lockdown we had a virtual camp so the girls were camping out in their back gardens or in the house and it was done on Facebook.

Irene Sandie with former town Girl Guide Margaret Robinson. (Photo:BILL McBURNIE)

“Most of the units have been meeting via zoom over the winter and some are now meeting outside every week at different places in the town."

Girlguiding was introduced to Galashiels in 1920, which was ten years after the very first girl guides came into being – 100 years of Guiding as a whole in the UK was marked in 2010.

Since 1920, there have been several Guide companies, Brownie packs, Ranger units and Rainbow units in Galashiels, all referred to as ‘units’ nowadays .

The display has photos from most of the decades, showing the different uniforms that guides have worn over the years and the different activities and badges available at that time.

Girlguiding memories from the 1950s.

The Girls Guides motto is ‘Be Prepared’, which means they are prepared to cope with anything that might come their way.

Through fun, friendship, challenge and adventure the girls are empowered to find their voice, inspiring them to find the best in themselves and to make positive difference in their communities.

Irene added: "We are one biggest youth organisations in the UK for girls and we’d like to get more adult volunteers to join us. There’s opportunities there for meeting new friends, having a good time for youngsters and adults with opportunities to go abroad with guiding.

“If any readers would like to get involved in g uiding and become a volunteer, in any part of the country, we can only say that it’s great fun, you will make many new friends and there are opportunities aplenty to do something different and ‘make a difference’ to the lives of girls and your own.

"For more information on where and how volunteers can help, or if your daughter would like to join one of our units, visit the Girlguiding website at: