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 Akela. Another RAF corporal replaced them as Scoutmaster and Akela, 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, todays colours. The Group was very active with many camps in both of the
SBAs as well as the Troodos Mountains.
Easter time 1961, the Scouts camped at Eagle’s Bath ( Loumata ) 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 out, the tents were soon swamped, with
water running in one end and out the other. All the kit including sleeping bags were soaked, 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.
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. The Scout Troop also got too large and
was split into two, one on a Thursday evening and one on Friday or 'F' Troop, named after a
television programme about the old American wild west with Skip Pete Davis.
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. The 53rd 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 Skip Ben Whelan, a FLt with the RAF 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 Skip 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 saw 40 members spend 10 days exploring the Alps at KISC
in Switzerland and in 2011 sixteen members went 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 Sea Scout 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. Once again things were difficult for the 53rd with
two Scout huts to maintain. Alot of work needed to be done and funds to be raised. The Parents
Committee managed to raise enough funds to start repair work at Moutayiaka and fix the area in
Yermasoyia, and not forgetting about the Scouting helped 6 members go to Explorer Jamboree,
Roverway 2012 in Finland.
In 2013 the 53rd once again went to KISC in Switzerland as the main Scout and Explorer summer
camp. Now the 53rd's numbers totalled more than 110 members and the program was very
active. A proud moment was when 7 Explorers received the Republic Award in the summer of
2014 by the Presedent of the Cyprus Republic.
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 15.02.2018
53rd Leaders in 2012 - 14.
From left: Sam, Eva, Charlie,
Natalie, Tracey, Skip, Alex
53rd Leaders in 2017 - 18.
From left: Christopher,
Stephanos ( Hawkeye ),
Andreas, Melissa, Christina,
Tracey, Stephanie, Eleni,
Anastasia, Maria and Alan.