'It's in my blood' - Joyce celebrates a fantastic 40 years' girlguiding

Joyce Goodall Royston girlguiding

Royston's Joyce Goodall has been Guiding for 40 years. - Credit: Joyce Goodall

A Royston girlguiding stalwart has notched up four decades of service - and has no desire to hang up her neckerchief yet!

Joyce Goodall's Guiding journey began 40 years ago when her mum agreed to act as Tawny Owl at the local Brownie Pack in Bushey Heath near Watford, where she grew up. 

From there, she  continued to Guides and then Rangers before going off to teacher training college in 1974. 

Joyce told the Crow: "When I arrived in Royston in August 1978, I went to an evening service at the Royston Methodist Church where I met Rev Denzil Sutcliffe, who ascertained that I was a musician and a teacher so he managed to persuade me to join the organ rota and the very next day he introduced me to the 3rd Royston Methodist Brownies.  

Joyce Goodall is marking 40 years girlguiding

Joyce Goodall is marking 40 years girlguiding - Credit: Joyce Goodall

"After a while, there was a space to become Tawny Owl with the Brownie Unit in Fowlmere, which was under the umbrella of Hertfordshire Guiding at that time. 

"After several years, South Cambridgeshire Guiding took back the Brownie Unit so I went back to the Royston church unit.  In 1988 a group of three girls, members of the 3rd Royston (Methodist) Guides, asked me if I would think about taking over the unit as their leader was leaving and the unit was going to close down unless a new leader could be found. 

"Needless to say, I agreed and I am still a leader today."

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Joyce, who has moved around Royston and now lives at Green Drift -  has also held other appointments alongside her guiding duties, and is well-known in the county. 

She became the Royston and District Commissioner in 1998, took up the post of leadership qualification mentor in 2001 and Hertfordshire county music adviser in 2008. 

DC bear - which Joyce Goodall was given when she became district commissioner

DC bear - which Joyce Goodall was given when she became district commissioner - wearing the 3rd Royston(Methodist) Guides neckerchief. - Credit: Joyce Goodall

She continued: "While in my role as district commissioner, I took over the 5th Royston Rainbow Unit, which was meant to be temporary but I am still there 21 years on!"

Joyce Goodall has marked 40 years with girlguiding.

Joyce Goodall has marked 40 years with girlguiding. - Credit: Joyce Goodall

She completed first aid qualifications in 1983 and in 2009 and completed her Campfire Leader's Certificate whilst camping with the Guides on the Kingsdown Scout Campsite near Deal in Dorset.   

That's not the only place she has travelled as part of being a Guider.

She said: "I joined the teams to take Brownies on Pack Holiday and Guides to Guide camp.  Guide camps sometimes happened twice a year and on three occasions we went to Grossalmerode - the Royston Twin Town - in Germany, where I was first aider and interpreter.

"I have had the privilege to serve the district and county as a Guider and recently received my 40 years' service award by Zoom which involved a brief chat with the County Commissioner, Jenny Maskray, and I received a silver bar to wear on my badge tab. 

Joyce Goodall Royston girlguiding

In 2000 when Joyce was District Commissioner, they filled a time capsule and buried it near the totem pole in the sensory garden in Priory Gardens. Joyce is on the right hand side next to Cllr Judy Cresswell, who was a Girlguiding Ambassador for Royston. - Credit: Joyce Goodall

"I have considered retiring as a Guider but Guiding is in my blood, and, as one of the other leaders said recently, 'You can't ever retire.  We will even bring you to meeting in your bath chair and sit you in the corner!'  Once you say 'yes' to Guiding it's impossible ever to say 'no'!

"One of my proudest moments was when I was asked to conduct the choir at St Albans Abbey as part of the County celebrations for the Millennium in 2000.  It was an awe-inspiring moment for me and such a privilege to be in such a magnificent building."

Joyce Goodall Royston girlguiding

In 2000 outside St Albans Abbey when Joyce conducted the choir, Joyce is with Guides, Leaders and members of the Trefoil Guild outside the main door. - Credit: Joyce Goodall

Girlguiding's mission is for all girls across the UK to have the space and opportunities they need to thrive, grow and give back to their communities

More than 240,000 girls already meet regularly as Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Together they learn skills, grow in confidence, make lifelong friendships, help their communities and have lots of fun. 

With the increasing need to support girls now, Girlguiding launched an appeal earlier this summer for volunteers -  providing opportunities for them to have fun, learn new skills and support their wellbeing, while enriching their own lives.

Angela Salt, chief executive, said: “Guiding and other youth organisations have a hugely important role to play in recovery and continuing to support young people by providing a constant in their world.”

“We encourage adults to join the guiding community as volunteers; the benefits of volunteering are fantastic – from meeting new people, to gaining skills and knowing that you are making a positive contribution to the lives of girls and young women, at a crucial time.”

For more on becoming a volunteer or registering your daughter for a group, go to www.girlguiding.org.uk