Certificate found in the Scout
Hut dated 1967. Best Troop
in a Camping Competition.
This is one of four magazines
found from 1968. It contains
many historical facts of the
53rd St Barnabas Scout Group Cyprus
Venture scout Magazine
The 53rd started in 1958 by Mr George Beavers at the request of the boys in the school where he
was then Headmaster. The first unit to appear was a Cub Pack with six cubs and gradually
increasing to twelve. But by this time it was necessary to start a Scout Troop as the original Cubs
were now old enough to become Scouts. Tigers was the first patrol to be formed then Panthers
as numbers increased. ( expanding to Wolves and Cobras by 1962-3 ). The Group Scoutmaster
and also Scoutmaster during 1960-1962 was Frank Cannon,an RAF corporal policeman, with
his wife Beryl as Cub mistress. Another RAF corporal replaced them as Scoutmaster and Cub
mistress, Bob Thompson and his wife from 1962–1965.
At first an old manor house was used by the Group as a meeting place but by mid-1961 the 53rd
had moved to St. Barnabas Church. The groups members were mostly British families from
WSBA residing in Limassol. A Scout Hut was built for the 53rd by the Royal Engineers next to St
Barnabas Church. In the early 1960s the 53rd ran two Cub Packs and had a Troop of four to six
Scout Patrols. Scarf colours varied over the years: Navy 1958-1963; Red with a yellow half inch
band inset stopping at the woggle in 1963 which was short-lived and very soon changed to gold
with a black border used until 1975 ( todays colours ). The Group was very active with many
camps in both of the SBAs as well as the Troodos Mountains.
At Whitsun 1961, the Scouts camped at Eagle’s Bath but on the second day, the continuous heavy
rain started. This was so heavy that, despite the patrols digging deep ditches around the patrol
tents in a vain attempt to keep the water off the hills at bay, the tents were soon swamped, with
water running in one end and out the other. All the kit including sleeping bags were sodden, so
Skip Cannon had no option but to call the RAF at Troodos to evacuate the Scouts. At three in the
morning the Scouts were removed to RAF Troodos, and the RAF cooks turned out to make them a
huge hot breakfast. After sleeping the rest of the night in the RAF Leave Centre, the Scouts were
evacuated by RAF bus down to Limassol in the morning. Skip Cannon assumed his Scouting
career was ruined (it wasn’t), but the Scouts thought it was the greatest of adventures.
In 1963 the Patrol Leader of Panthers Kevin Piper represented the 53rd at the World Scout
Jamboree which was held in Greece. Throughout the 1963-1964 troubles the 53rd continued to
meet. When a 4pm curfew was imposed by the British on Service families, Friday Scout night was
moved to Saturday morning. At the same time Bob-a-Job was still successfully carried out,
despite the movement restrictions.
In February 1967 the 53rd Senior Scouts camped in snow on the top of Troodos, and on 3 Sept
1967 four 53rd Senior Scouts were awarded their Queens Scouts at Happy Valley. On the same
day the Seniors discarded their Group scarf and were presented with brown scarves, and
become a Venture Scout Unit.
By now the Group census recorded 130 Cubs and Scouts and the Scout hut in the grounds of St
Barnabas Anglican Church was too small. So in September 1967 the Group accepted
accommodation in the disused NAAFI complex on 16th June Street in the form of a 40x18 feet
Nissen hut. The Scout HQ in the grounds of the Anglican Church was taken over by a Greek
Cypriot Group (the 61st?).
The groups numbers grew in 1968 to 180 strong with cub meetings almost every night of the
week. They were named Monday Pack to Friday Pack. Scouts from the 53rd took part in the Horse
Shoe Hikes, District Competitions and had a very active program. The Group closed when the
Turks invaded Cyprus in June 1974. British families were evacuated from Limassol to Akrotiri and
then finally repatriated to UK. It re-opened briefly after the Turkish invasion, becoming a multi-
national Group running the British scheme and eventually closed in 1975.
The Group was opened again in 1981 by Ben Whelan and the Group became the first mixed
Scout Group on the Island for boys and girls. As Group Scout Leader and with the help of Sheila
Whelan as Akela the program was rich with camps in Happy Valley, participating in Horse Shoe
Hikes and challenging activities which set a trend for many years to come. The group followed the
British Scout Scheme until 1986 and had a leading role in the WSBA District, the group also took
part in activities with Cypriot Scouts in Limassol.
In 1986 two new Leaders were appointed by the Limassol District Scout Association to run the
Group. They were succeeded by John Stavrinidies in 1988 who led the group together with Peter
Elton and Richard Vlamis, two old scouts trained by Ben Whelan.
The group carried on meeting at St Barnabas Church until 1992 when it was asked to leave. The
Group Scout Leader, Richard Vlamis, finding the Group homeless at this time moved it to the
Limassol District Building. Over the next years the Group obtained two containers and a room in
the District Building. The program remained challenging and the spirit of the 53rd carried on.
In 1994 an Explorer, Angelos Bayada, took part in the European Jamboree in Holland. Other trips
to Greece, USA and Kisc Switzerland in the 80's and 90's brought back more Scouting knowledge
to the 53rd.
In 2001 a new Group Scout Leader was appointed, Alexi Chrysostomou. He led the group until
summer 2004 when it closed.
The Group was reopened by Richard Vlamis in March 2005 and by 2007 the group became one
of the largest groups in Limassol. During the 2007 St Georges Day events held in Limassol the
Group built two towers at the Stadium with the help of Peter Elton who now was back in Uniform.
In the summer of 2007 two Explorer Scouts, Dalia Fakir and Marina Bangbang, represented the
53rd at the World Jamboree which was held in the UK. The same year three Explorers gained
their Republic Awards, the first since 1988.
In March 2008 the 53rd celebrated 50 years with a three day active weekend. All GSL's from 1981
were present. The following year the Group donated a stain glass window which was put in the St
Barnabas Church for Thinking Day and seven members went to Iceland to take part in the
Explorer Jamboree, Roverway.
The Groups summer camp in 2010 for the Scouts saw 40 members going to Kandersteg in
Switzerland and in 2011 the Group sent 16 members to the World Jamboree in Sweden. When
the Group opened after the Summer holidays in September 2011 once again it was homeless.
One of the containers was sold to the 27th Group and the other was moved to Yermasoyia, the
53rd's new home. With no roof to have meetings the 53rd also moved into the Moutayiaka Scout
hut, which was closed and in bad shape. The Parents Committee managed to raise enough
funds to start repair work at Moutayiaka and building in Yermasoyia, and not forgetting about the
Scouting by sending 6 members to Roverway 2012 in Finland.
Flag Pole made by Thales
and Jack in 1985 still
apart of the 53rd.
Edgar Altenburger GSL 1986-88
Ben Whelan GSL 1981-86
Peter Elton SL 1989-92 EL 2006-13
John Stavrinidies GSL1988-92
Alexi Chrysostomou GSL 2001-04
George Tsikkos Chief Scout
Richard Vlamis present GSL
53rd Leaders in 2006.
From Left: Richard ( Skip ),
Stephanie and Elias.
53rd Leaders in 2007-08
From Left: Peter, Marieffie,
Eros, Stephanie and Skip.
53rd Leaders in 2009 - 10.
From top left: Marina, Dalia,
Mastou and Laura.
From Bottom Left: Grace,
Yolanda, Chris, Skip, Tracey,
Stephanie and Effie.
53rd Leaders in 2008 - 09.
From Left: Skip, Stephanie,
Chris, Peter, marios and
53rd Leaders 2011 - 12
Dalia, A. Explorer Leader.
George, A.Cub Leader.
Christian, A. Scout Leader.
Emilios, Scout Leader.
Peter, Explorer Leader.
Richard ( Skip ) GSL.
Tracey ( Akela ) Cub Scout Leader.
Yolanda, A.Cub Leader.
Effie, A.Cub Leader.
Anna, A.Cub Leader.
Last Updated 14.12.14
53rd Leaders in 2012 - 14.
From left: Sam, Eva, Charlie,
Natalie, Tracey, Skip, Alex