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Whifflepoof hunters to celebrate diamond days of adventure camp

By Toby Neal | Entertainment | Published:

Youngsters now in their 50s, 60s and 70s will be making a nostalgic return to tented life, hiking, and perhaps even a whifflepoof hunt as they celebrate the 60th anniversary of a Shropshire adventure camp.

Those who went to the Longmynd Adventure Camp as young lads are planning to get together again in the Shropshire hills both to mark the diamond anniversary and also to remember the founder, the late Bill Williams.

"We are trying to get together some of the old boys, some of the leaders, some of the tent leaders and people who were involved, who were at the camp from the 1950s to the 1990s," said one of the organisers, 68-year-old Mike Powell, of Shrewsbury.

"This includes me, as I was there in the 1960s. I was a tent leader and lived at the time at Craven Arms.

"It's going to be at Minton where the camp is now, from August 9 to 12.

"We are going to camp there. Some will be in the hall. We are hoping to pitch tents and do a lot of activities, singing songs and having a bit of a camp fire, and things like that.

"We are thinking about doing the whifflepoof hunt we did when we were kids.

"We are aiming to remember the 60th anniversary of it starting, and also to remember Mr Williams. We are hoping to do something like plant a tree, or something like that."

The whifflepoof hunt was one of the traditional activities for the youngsters at the camp. The elusive whifflepoof was described as resembling a log with spikes along its back which looked like nails – a completely accurate description, they were to discover.

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Following its tracks always ended in the vicinity of the Cardingmill Valley Cafe, where the youngsters were treated to lunch by a local lady doctor, Dr Gooch.

The Longmynd Adventure Camp - in its title, Long Mynd is spelt as one word - had its origins in 1958 when Bill Williams, a local policeman, held a camp in the back garden of his police house at Wistanstow, near Craven Arms.

The first camp in the foothills of the Long Mynd was in 1959 at a field in Minton.

Aimed at boys aged 11 to 14, it was originally called The WVS (Women’s Voluntary Services, as it was then) Boys Camp, and its aim was to provide a camping holiday for deprived boys from the West Midlands, mainly from the Wolverhampton and Birmingham areas.

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Later its catchment area broadened.

The camp gained charitable status in 1973.

The Longmynd Adventure Camp continues as a charity to this day, its stated primary aim to provide free or subsidised respite breaks for disadvantaged children, especially those that have never experienced the countryside before.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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